Century's Shortest Lunar Eclipse Coming Saturday

Total eclipse will last 4 minutes and 43 seconds
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2015 8:44 AM CDT

Early risers in western North America on Saturday may be rewarded with a sight of the century's shortest total eclipse. While some total eclipses can last up to an hour, sky watchers will have just four minutes and 43 seconds to take in the sight of the blood moon as it just skims Earth's shadow, reports CBS San Francisco. Those west of the Mississippi River will have an ideal view as the moon begins its trek into Earth's shadow at 3:16am PDT, CNN reports. The total lunar eclipse—the third of four in a "tetrad" occurring in 18 months—will be visible beginning at 4:58am. A partial eclipse may be seen across the country, as well as in South America, India, China, and Russia.

NASA says that four blood moons within 18 months is rare, occurring only a few times in the last 2,000 years. The next one will occur on Sept. 28. It's not all oohs and aahs, though: CBS notes the timing of the blood moon just ahead of Easter and this passage in the King James Bible: "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord comes." One American pastor says that means a "great worldwide event" is to come, the Daily Mirror adds. John Hagee predicts "we're going to see something dramatic happen in the Middle East involving Israel that will change the course of history in the Middle East and impact the whole world." (Here are the first and second blood moons in the tetrad.)

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