2014 Lunar Eclipse: NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Team to Observe Total Lunar Eclipse

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By Jenalyn Villamarin | April 9, 2014 5:33 PM EST

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) team will be meticulously observing the 2014 Lunar Eclipse on Tuesday, April 15. The total eclipse is expected to be a remarkable display for the viewers in North America.

Noah Petro, the LRO deputy project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland confirmed in the Space Fellowship report that the LRO team will be ready in observing the total lunar eclipse while viewers watch the Moon on April 15. The deputy project scientist revealed that the spacecraft, which currently orbits the Moon, will head directly from the Moon's shadow to the planet Earth's shadow while orbiting during the total lunar eclipse. 

The LRO team expects that the spacecraft can make it through without experiencing any problems especially when it passes through the full shadow twice before the end of the lunar eclipse. "We're taking precautions to make sure everything is fine," Noah Petro stated.

The spacecraft will also be forced to shut down instruments since the batteries are recharged with the sunlight. "We're turning off the instruments and will monitor the spacecraft every few hours when it's visible from Earth," the LRO deputy project scientist explained.

Meanwhile, the total lunar eclipse is expected to be visible as well for those residing in Central New York during its peak provided that the skies will be clear on April 15. "This one's a good one for us. We'll see pretty much the whole thing," Raymond Dague of the Syracuse Astronomical Society stated in the Syracuse.com report.

To best view the 2014 lunar eclipse, viewers are suggested to head out when the eclipse kicks off at about 1 am and reach its peak at around 3:46 am where the Moon will be in the Earth's shadow for 80 minutes. 

"The full moon will gradually grow darker as the earth moves into the path of the sun," Mr Dague shared. However, the Moon will not be completely black due to some light coming from the sun scattering through the Earth's atmosphere before striking the Moon.

The April 2014 lunar eclipse is the first of the four that will be visible in the United States. The last total lunar eclipse that became visible in Central New York occurred last December 2010 while the next one is expected to take place on September 28, 2015.

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