Saturday’s lunar eclipse will be total, but brief

path of lunar eclipse

The moon will enter the outer part of Earth’s shadow (the penumbra) at 4:01 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on April 4. Totality won’t occur until the moon passes through the umbra, or deepest part of the shadow.

Moon: G.H. Revera (CC BY-SA 3.0); C. Crockett/Science News

The next total eclipse of the moon will happen in the early morning of April 4. Don’t blink, though — this eclipse is quick. The moon will plunge through the central part of Earth’s shadow for only about five minutes. During totality, the moon will be bathed in a deep red glow from sunlight bending through Earth’s atmosphere.

The upcoming eclipse is the third in what’s known as a tetrad, a relatively rare sequence of four consecutive total eclipses spaced six months apart.

For anyone living east of the Mississippi, sorry, the sun is going to spoil the show. The sun will come up while the moon is entering the deepest part of Earth’s shadow. The farther west you are, the more eclipse you’ll see, with residents from Hawaii to eastern Australia being treated to an uninterrupted show.

If you can’t view the eclipse from your location, you’re not out of luck. The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles will stream the eclipse online beginning at 5 a.m. Eastern time, as will the Virtual Telescope Project and Slooh.

headshot of Associate News Editor Christopher Crockett

Christopher Crockett is an Associate News Editor. He was formerly the astronomy writer from 2014 to 2017, and he has a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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