Eyes to the Sky: Total lunar eclipse Mars closest, brightest


Earth’s moon and Mars reign in a particularly regal sky as the weekend begins and through next week. Mars, still the brightest it’s been for years, comes closest to Earth on Monday, the 14th.

In the wee hours of Tuesday, the 15th, April’s moon arrives at full phase and, at that time, 3:42 a.m., it will be entirely in Earth’s shadow -- the midpoint of a total eclipse! The moon begins to fade into shadow at about 1 a.m. and begins to reappear at 4:25 a.m. Luna will be nearly fully lit again as it sets at 6:24 a.m. in the west-southwest, opposite the rising sun, which will be in the east-northeast.

Overnight Monday until dawn on Tuesday promises to be a most memorable night out. Take heart, there’s so much to see even if an overnight outdoors is not for you.

Bright, golden Mars is to be enjoyed from dusk in the east until dawn in the west, traversing the sky to the south all night. Tonight, the gibbous (larger than half) moon is below the quintessentially spring constellation, Leo the Lion. On Sunday and Monday, Luna appears close to Mars and the planet’s companion stars Spica and Porrima.

Each year, the dates of Passover and Easter are determined by the date of the first full moon after the vernal equinox, the paschal moon. Passover begins on the full moon and Easter is the first Sunday after the full moon. Tuesday is the first day of Passover, preceded by the ceremony of the Seder on Monday evening, when moonrise will be at 7:10 p.m., just before sunset at 7:33. Easter will be celebrated on the 20th.

The moon and Mars reign at night as the sun has, at last, taken charge of day.

To contact Judy Isacoff, M.A. go to: www.naturesturn.org


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