April 15 Lunar Eclipse To Be The First Of Many For Utah
A lunar eclipse will take place about two minutes before midnight on April 14 as the moon starts to move into the Earth’s shadow.
By 1:07 a.m. the moon will reach totality, which means it will be completely within Earth’s shadow until 2:24 a.m. on April 15. During this time, the moon might take a yellow, copper or reddish color.
This eclipse will be the first of a tetrad, which is a period of four lunar eclipses. Another lunar eclipse will take place in October of this year, followed by two more in 2015.
Patrick Wiggins is NASA’s Solar System ambassador to Utah. He said most areas will be able to see the eclipse, but more light-polluted areas may miss the coloration of the moon, if it should occur.
"If you've got a lot of light pollution in your area, you will not be able to see the, shall we say, the 'pretty' part of the eclipse, when maybe we'll get some nice pretty colors on the moon," Wiggins said. "Although it could be that it'll be a totally dark eclipse, and even from the desert, it'll disappear."
Wiggins said in addition to the lunar eclipses, two solar eclipses are on the way, starting with a partial eclipse this fall.
"I'm thinking of it as kind of like an hors d'oeuvre for what's coming up in 2017, when a little bit north of us we're going to have a total eclipse of the sun, which is, as far as I'm concerned, one of the most dramatic things you can see in the sky," he said.
The total solar eclipse will pass through much of central Idaho and Wyoming in August 2017, passing right above Rexburg, Idaho, according to Wiggins.
He warned towns in the path of the eclipse to prepare for an influx of tourists. During a solar eclipse in May 2012, the town of Kanarraville, Utah dealt with thousands of tourists who came to watch the moon’s shadow move over the area.
For more information on future eclipses in Utah, visit Wiggins' Solar System ambassador webpage.
-Eric Jungblut is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism at Utah State University.