The solar eclipse of March 20, 2015 is over. The next eclipse is a total eclipse of the full moon on April 4, 2015. It’ll last less than five minutes, making it the shortest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century. The total lunar eclipse will be visible from western North America, eastern Asia, the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand. At North American time zones, that means the greatest eclipse happens before sunrise on April 4 – the morning of April 4, not the evening. From the world’s Eastern Hemisphere – eastern Asia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Australia – the greatest eclipse takes place after sunset April 4. Follow the links below to learn the dates for upcoming solar and lunar eclipses in 2015 and 2016. Enjoy.
Eclipse times for April 4, 2015 lunar eclipse in Central Daylight Time. Translate to your time zone here.
This is what a total eclipse looks like. This is the total eclipse of October 27, 2004 via Fred Espenak of NASA. Visit Fred’s page here. We astronomy writers often describe a totally eclipsed moon as appearing ‘blood red.’ Here’s why the moon turns red during a total eclipse.
Fortnight (approximate two-week) separation between solar and lunar eclipses. A solar eclipse always takes place within one fortnight of any lunar eclipse. For instance, in 2015, the total solar eclipse on March 20 comes one fortnight before the Blood Moon total lunar eclipse of April 4. The partial solar eclipse on September 13 occurs one fortnight before the Blood Moon total lunar eclipse of September 28. In 2016, the total solar eclipse of March 9 happens one fortnight before the penumbral lunar eclipse of March 23; and the September 1 annular solar eclipse takes place one fortnight before the September 16 penumbral lunar eclipse.
Somewhat rarely, a solar eclipse can occur one fortnight before and after a lunar eclipse. This will next happen in the year 2018:
July 13: Partial solar eclipse
July 27: Total lunar eclipse
August 11: Partial solar eclipse
Somewhat rarely, a lunar eclipse can come one fortnight before and after a solar eclipse. This will next happen in the year 2020:
June 5: Penumbral lunar eclipse
June 21: Annular solar eclipse
July 5: Penumbral lunar eclipse
Animation of the 2015 April 4 total lunar eclipse. The moon travels eastward through the Earth’s penumbra (light outside shadow) and umbra (dark inner shadow) shadow. The yellow line depicts the ecliptic – Earth’s orbital plane. Although the moon, at least in part, spends about 3.5 hours within the umbra, it is only totally submerged in the umbra (dark shadow) for a short while, or less than 5 minutes. Read more
Bottom line: Dates of solar and lunar eclipses in 2015 and 2016.