Total Lunar Eclipse

Early on the morning of April 4th a total lunar eclipse will be visible across the Pacific. Sky watchers in Hawaiʻi will be able to observe this event from beginning to end.

Total Lunar Eclipse 14Apr2014
The total lunar eclipse on Apr 14, 2014, Canon 6D on 90mm f/12 APO
This eclipse is just barely total with an umbral magnitude of 1.0008. The northern edge of the Moon will be barely inside the umbra and probably much brighter than the south hemisphere. The eclipse is also quite short, with a total phase lasting only four minutes. Compare this to the next total eclipse of 2015 where totality lasts over an hour.

Maximum totality will occur at 12:02UT or about 02:02HST. First contact will occur at 11:01HST on the evening of the 3rd, with umbral first contact a little after midnight at 00:15HST. It is this umbral contact that will be the first obvious effect of the eclipse to a visual observer, a notable notch out of the Moon.

Observing a total lunar eclipse requires no special equipment, simply the desire to look up. The most useful piece of equipment will be a reclining chair or some other method of staying comfortable while watching the sky. A pair of binoculars or small telescope can provide beautiful views of the Moon during an eclipse. Photography is somewhat more challenging, but not that difficult. Focal lengths of around 1000mm will fill the field of most DSLR cameras allowing photos like that shown here.

Penumbral Eclipse Begins  11:01 HST   09:01 UT
Partial Eclipse Begins   00:15 HST   10:15 UT
Total Eclipse Begins   01:57 HST   11:57 UT
Greatest Eclipse   02:01 HST   12:01 UT
Total Eclipse Ends   02:02 HST   12:02 UT
Partial Eclipse Ends   03:44 HST   13:44 UT
Penumbral Eclipse Ends   04:58 HST   14:58 UT

Timing for the 4Apr2015 total lunar eclipse
The entire eclipse will be visible during the night, quite convenient for amateur and casual sky-watchers.

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

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