Lunar Eclipse, Mars to Put on Cosmic Show

TLE2014Apr15-MDT

(KCPW News) Tuesday is April 15, which means taxes are due for millions of Americans this week. But while tax procrastinators are up all night crunching the numbers, they might want to step outside and look at the sky sometime between midnight tonight and 3:33 a.m. MT. That’s when a lunar eclipse will be taking place over Utah. From 1:07 a.m. to 2:24 a.m., the moon will be almost completely shrouded in the Earth’s shadow, painting it with an unusual palette of faint colors.

Patrick Wiggins, who is the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratories Solar System Ambassador to Utah, said the lunar eclipse will be visible from anywhere, but it’ll be a prettier sight in less urban areas.

“If you want to see the really subtle colors that sometimes fall upon the moon during totality, then you’ve got to get away from the light pollution,” he said.

Wiggins recommended the Stansbury Park Observatory west of Salt Lake City as a potential viewing location.

In addition, the moon will have some cosmic company in the sky, including Mars as it makes its closest pass by Earth in six years.

“And by the way,” Wiggins noted, “Mars will be the kind of reddish-looking star right next to the moon. Turns out they’re going to be in the same place in the sky. We’ve also got Jupiter over in the western sky by midnight tonight, and we’ll have Saturn rising in the eastern sky.”

In case Utahns miss the lunar eclipse this time around, there will be another lunar eclipse on October 8th, as well as two more next year.

Comments
  1. cg

    Beautiful show in the night sky from Bluffdale.the eclipse is stunning!