March 31 – What’s Up Doc?

Today’s factismal: The shortest total eclipse of the Moon in a century will happen on Saturday morning.

Quick – what are you doing way too early on Saturday morning? If your answer was “sleeping”, then you might want to set your alarm. That’s because this Saturday will see a total eclipse of the Moon. When will it happen and what will you see? Well, that depends on where you are.

A picture of the Moon during the last eclipse (My camera)

A picture of the Moon during the last eclipse
(My camera)

Folks living in the Eastern part of the US (the EDT region) will see the Moon start to go into a penumbral eclipse at 5:01 AM EDT and will see the partial eclipse begin at 6:16 AM. Unfortunately for them, the Moon will be setting and the Sun will be rising just about then, so all that they will see is the start of the “blood Moon”.

Where the eclipse will be visible (Image courtesy NASA)

Where the eclipse will be visible
(Image courtesy NASA)

Folks living in the middle part of the US (the CDT region) will see the penumbral eclipse start at 4:01 AM and the partial eclipse begin at 5:16 AM. But, just as happens for the folks back East, the Moon will set before the total eclipse begins.

Folks living in the Rocky Mountain area (the MDT region) are luckier than the folks to the East. They will see the Moon enter into a penumbral eclipse at 3:01 AM and start a partial eclipse an hour later. They’ll also get to see the Moon enter into a total eclipse at 5:58 AM and leave the total eclipse at 6:03 AM. The Moon will spend just 4 minutes and 43 seconds in eclipse, making it the shortest eclipse in a century. Their show will end with the Moon setting while in partial eclipse.

But the luckiest folks live on the West coast (the PDT region); they will see the Moon go into a penumbral eclipse at 2:01 AM and start a partial eclipse at 4:16 AM. The Moon will go into a total eclipse for them at 4:58 AM and leave it at 5:03 AM. It will even have just enough time to leave the partial eclipse at 6:45 AM before setting.

Actually, I just lied to you. The luckiest folks are the ones living in Hawai’i. Not only will they get to see the Moon enter the penumbral eclipse at 11:01 PM, they will get to see it leave the penumbral eclipse at 4:59 AM; they will get to see the whole eclipse! (Those folks looking for a great excuse to go lie on a beach with a beautiful wahini now have one.) The partial eclipse will start for them at 12:16 AM and the Moon will move into total eclipse at 1:58 AM and back out at 2:02 AM. It will them move out of the partial eclipse at 3:45 AM.

So go out this Saturday morning and enjoy the greatest show near Earth!

One thought on “March 31 – What’s Up Doc?

  1. Pingback: April 3 – In The Dark | Little facts about science

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s