North and South America Inhabitants Treated To Spectacular Cosmic Sight On Tax Day
When April 15 (tax day) comes around, people in both North and South America will be treated to a spectacular sight. April brings with it a full lunar eclipse as well as a Mars opposition. What does this exactly mean?
First, a full lunar eclipse takes place when the Earth is centered directly between the moon and sun. The planet casts its shadow onto the surface of a bright full moon. On the 15th, around 1:58 a.m., the moon will shift into the planet’s Umbra (or shadow). This is when the moon will be hidden by the shadow and give off a reddish hue.
From this point, the moon will be in the complete eclipse process. Around 3:07 a.m., the eclipse will be in its second phase. This is when the moon will be entirely covered by the planet’s Umbra, lasting until 4:25 a.m. In the third phase, the moon will exit the Umbra. The entire event will end by 5:33 a.m.
The Mars opposition occurs when the solar system planets revolve in elliptical patters, sometimes further away and closer to the other planets. As of April 15, Mars will be closer to the planet than it’s been since 2007. For weeks in 2003, Mars could be seen brightly to the naked eye. The event can be equated to that event; however, Mars’ proximity is smaller this time around with the planet being about 50 million miles away.
Starting April 8, star gazer should look toward the Eastern sky to find the bright red dot (Mars). In fact, it’ll be even brighter than the Canis Major, the bright star philosophers use when they’re deep in thought.
While Mars is going to be bright during the Spring and Summer seasons, it’ll be April 8 that’s best to get a good glimpse at the red planet. During the lunar eclipse, star gazers can watch it, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn in all their brightness.
There’s no reason for special equipment – telescopes or binoculars – as lunar eclipses can be watched with the naked eye. For star gazers – not just astrologers – the Mars opposition and lunar eclipse is a treasured event that those in the Western hemisphere can get to enjoy.
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