Blood moon first of four in unique lunar eclipse sequence

SHERMAN, TX - Early Tuesday morning there will be a total lunar eclipse. It's the first of four we'll see between now and September 2015. News 12's Daniella Rivera visited Austin College's observatory, and explains why this type of eclipse is called a "Blood Moon."

A blood moon happens during a total eclipse, when the moon passes behind the earth, directly in line with the earth and the sun. As it's in the same orbit, instead of being darkened by the earth's shadow, light from the sun bends around the earth, illuminating the moon with red.

"I've heard this described as seeing every sunset and every sunrise at once," said Austin College assistant professor Dr. Pete Hyland.

The total eclipse is named a "Blood Moon" for it's brick-red hue.

"What this means for the moon is that, as you look at the earth, with the sun behind it, you don't just see the sun blocked out by the earth. What you see now is the ring of red all the way around the earth as the light of the sun gets bent around and the red light is what makes it past," said Hyland.

He says while one blood moon isn't out of the ordinary, a sequence of four total eclipses is unique.

"What's really special about what's going on right now is that there are four of them separated by six months," said Hyland.

The first, happens early Tuesday morning. Austin College got a new telescope in their observatory less than a year ago, it's the largest in North Texas, and they can use to view eclipses.

"When we hook it up to this part, we hook our camera up, it's a very small part of the moon so basically when you're scrolling across the screen, it looks like you're walking across the moon," said senior student Aryn Hays.

Students say they're excited, and hopefully they can view some of the blood moons from the observatory.

If you are able to see the lunar eclipse, Dr. Hyland says it should be its brightest red between 2 and 3 a.m. Tuesday morning.


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