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NMSU professor alerts public to total eclipse of the Moon Saturday, April 4

WHAT: There will be a total eclipse of the Moon in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 4. This will be an extremely short event lasting less than 5 minutes. Telescopes or binoculars won’t be needed but the eclipse is best observed away from the glare of city lights.

WHO: New Mexico State University astronomy professor emeritus Kurt Anderson is alerting the general public that a lunar eclipse will be visible in this region when the full Moon passes into the shadow of the Earth.
WHEN: The eclipse begins at 3:01 a.m. The eclipse becomes total at 5:58 a.m. and ends at 6:03 a.m.
WHERE: Observers will need an unobstructed view of the western horizon.
VISUALS: Eclipses occur at roughly six-month intervals. This eclipse is unusual in that it is the third in a sequence of four consecutive total lunar eclipses. The fourth will occur on Sept. 28, 2015.

“This eclipse will begin at 3:01 a.m. when the Moon first enters the penumbral shadow of the Earth,” explained Kurt Anderson, astronomy professor emeritus at New Mexico State University. “This will be hardly noticeable to earthbound observers; appearing as a slow dimming of the Moon’s brightness. In this stage of the eclipse the Earth, as seen from the Moon, blocks out only a portion of the Sun’s light. The main (“partial”) phase of the eclipse begins as the Moon first enters the Earth’s umbral shadow at 4:15 a.m.; the sharp edge of this darker shadow will appear to move across the face of the Moon. An astronaut on the shadowed part of the Moon would now see the Earth completely covering the Sun. The eclipse becomes total, with the Moon fully in the umbral shadow, at 5:58. Totality will last only 4 minutes and 43 seconds, ending just before 6:03. From then to 7:44 the Moon moves out of umbra during a second partial phase of the eclipse. However, local Sunrise is at 6:27 and the Moon sets at 6:58 so the end of the umbral phase at 7:44 and the penumbral phase at 8:51, will be missed.”