1. News

Two sure things for Tuesday: a lunar eclipse and taxes

Published Apr. 14, 2014

A couple of hours after midnight tonight — you know, right about the time you're starting your taxes — walk outside and look up.

The view will take your mind off W-2 forms, itemized deductions and general frustration over money owed the government.

Clouds are predicted to be hovering over the Tampa Bay area, so you might have to find a seam or hole, but you'll be gazing at a sight that has captivated humans for the ages: a total lunar eclipse.

For about three and a half hours early Tuesday morning, from roughly 2 to 5:30 a.m., the eclipse will be visible. This is the type of eclipse in which the moon passes into Earth's shadow and darkens.

It's different from a solar eclipse, in which the moon passes in front of the sun. And unlike a solar eclipse, this one is perfectly safe to watch with the naked eye.

In this eclipse, as the moon slips into Earth's shadow, it will turn an orange-ish color, though the exact tint is hard to predict.

"Anything from a cherry red to a dark brick — it's going to be some shade of orange-red," said David Dickinson, a freelance science writer who lives in Hudson.

The eclipse begins about 2 a.m. when the moon starts to move through the inner shadow cast by Earth, called the umbra. It will start with what Dickinson likes to call the "Pac-Man" phase of the eclipse, when it looks like a bite has been taken out of the moon.

Daryl L. Schrader, professor emeritus at St. Petersburg College, said that as it slips deeper into Earth's shadow, "more and more of the moon is going to darken until the whole thing is in totality. And then look for that reddish color."

Light from the sun will refract around the Earth, bending through the atmosphere and picking up the same glow as in sunsets, said Schrader, who writes an astronomy column for the Tampa Bay Times. That's what will give the moon a reddish appearance.

By about 3:06 a.m., the moon will have passed all the way into shadow, which is called total eclipse. The total eclipse will last for about an hour and 18 minutes. And then the moon will start to poke back out. This is the partial eclipse, which ends at 5:33 a.m.

Some other interesting tidbits about this eclipse:

• NASA says it's the first in a "tetrad" of four total lunar eclipses that will be visible from most of North America. The others will be: Oct. 8; April 4, 2015; and Sept. 28, 2015.

• Some are calling this a "blood moon" and predicting the end of the world, etc.

It may not be the end of the world. It will definitely be April 15. Says Dickinson: "I would still file my taxes."

Times staff writer Weston Phippen contributed to this report.


  1. Representatives from the Pasco County school district and the United School Employees of Pasco discuss salary and benefits during negotiations on Sept. 18, 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff Writer
    The proposal is short on details, with officials saying they want to work through specifics during negotiations.
  2. A still image from a 2014 video of Granville Ritchie's interrogation with Temple Terrace detectives the day after 9-year-old Felecia Williams vanished. He is now on trial for her murder. JAMAL THALJI  |  [Photo courtesy of WTVT-Ch. 13]
    Jurors watched his interrogation the day after Felecia Williams was last seen in 2014. “This situation is very complicated for me,” he told police.
  3. Tampa investor and owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning Jeff Vinik, right, speaks about his investments in the video game industry at the eSports Summit Wednesday in Tampa as Matt Samost, Vice President of New Ventures for Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment looks on. LUIS SANTANA   |   TIMES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    A summit at USF brought together major players and explored the possibility of an esports arena.
  4. Lynn Cristina is a Wesley Chapel momma with two girls and works full time as a marketing manager. Courtesy of Lynn Cristina
    My husband and I usually divide and conquer on the parenting front — and I was a man down.
  5. Falo Kane, 32, of Clearwater, now faces four counts of sexual battery of a physically helpless person and a violation of probation charge, according to police. [CLEARWATER POLICE DEPARTMENT]  |  Clearwater Police Department
    Falo Kane now faces a total of seven counts of sexual battery of a physically helpless person.
  6. Female driver texting on mobile phone while driving. STAR TRIBUNE  |  baona/Star Tribune/TNS
    Police are choosing to issue warnings instead of tickets — so far.
  7. 7-Eleven Inc. is opening its first location in a Brandon mall. Pictured is a location in Port Richey in 2018. | [Times (2018) TYLISA JOHNSON | TIMES  |  TyLisa Johnson | Times
    It is the first of eight mall locations opening this year.
  8. Pedro Davila, 27, was arrested in Pasco County three weeks after he robbed a New York City jewelry store, authorities said. Pinellas County Sheriff's Office
    Pedro Davila was taken into custody on a rural stretch of roadway, three weeks after he and two others held up a store, authorities said.
  9. The State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville announced Wednesday that Donald Hugh Davidson Jr. had waived his right to a jury trial after pleading guilty. Photo from video/News4JAX
    Prosecutors said Davidson entered Roseann Welsh’s Middleburg home and strangled and stabbed her.
  10. Hurricane Dorian evacuees wait for family and friends to arrive after evacuating on the Grand Celebration cruise ship from Freeport, a city in the Grand Bahamas on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019 in Riviera Beach. The cruise ship transported hundreds of evacuees seeking passage from Freeport after the damaged caused by Hurricane Dorian. BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP
    The Bahamians who arrived Wednesday from Freeport say they will temporarily stay with relatives or friends before traveling back.