Mars & Moon: Closest Approach and an Eclipse

  • April 14 · 7:00 PM

During the overnight hours, it will be a night first for Mars and later for the full moon. Mars will come to within 57.4 million miles (92.4 million km) of our planet, making its closest approach to Earth since January 2008. All through the night, Mars will resemble a dazzling star shining with a steady fiery-colored tint; its brightness will match Sirius, the most luminous of all the stars. As a bonus, later that very same night (actually the early hours of April 15), North America will have a ringside seat to a total lunar eclipse when the full moon becomes transformed into a mottled reddish ball for 78 minutes as it is completely immersed in the shadow of the Earth.

This total lunar eclipse will be the first one widely visible from North America in nearly 3.5 years. The Americas will have the best view of this eclipse, although over Canada's Maritime provinces, moonset will intervene near the end of totality. Of special interest is the fact that the moon will appear quite near to the bright star Spica, in the constellation Virgo, during the eclipse.

The moon and Spica actually will be in conjunction a couple of hours prior to the onset of totality, but they're still relatively near to each other when the eclipse gets underway. Source: http://www.space.com/24048-best-skywatching-events-2014.html

See Also: http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/lunar/2014-april-15 <<this resource is on the Message Board (drop down Discussions on the navigation bar above) as well.

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