The April 15 total lunar eclipse is the first in a four-eclipse cycle called a tetrad. To see our latest story on the tetrad, read: Four Blood Moons: Total Lunar Eclipse Series Not a Sign of Apocalypse.
Stargazers and lunar fans in the Western Hemisphere will have ringside seats for a total eclipse of the moon during the overnight hours of April 14 and 15. This spectacle of celestial shadows will be the first of two total lunar eclipses in 2014 that will be visible from North America. Unlike an eclipse of the sun, an eclipse of the moon presents no hazards to the viewer. No precautions to protect the eyes are needed. For the Western Hemisphere, the eclipse will “officially” begin on April 15 at 12:53 a.m. EDT (0435 GMT), when the moon begins to enter Earth’s outer, or penumbral shadow. But even in clear weather, skywatchers will not notice any changes in the moon’s appearance until about 50 minutes later, when a slight “smudge” or shading starts becoming evident on the left portion of the moon’s disk