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April's Pink Moon: A Night To Forget

Apr 23, 2013 03:30 PM EDT

April's "Pink Moon" is not one to be taken literal in terms of the Moon's actual coloration.

Named after the pink phlox, one of the earliest flowers to arrive in spring, the title is merely one given to the first full Moon in April.

This year, however, April 25's full Moon may hold a small thrill for those living in Europe, Africa and much as Asia as the night will also see a partial lunar eclipse. 

However, not all lunar eclipses are created equal, and this one may not be anything to stay up for. In fact, as Joe Rao writes, "it might add new meaning to the term 'underwhelming.'"

For about the first two hours, the Moon's northern hemisphere will move slowly into the Earth's penumbra, or outer shadow. The effect will largely be limited to a simple dimming near the top of the Moon.

From about 3:54 p.m. until 4:21 p.m. EDT the shadow on the Moon's northern area will grow and retreat: in all the partial eclipse will reach a peak of just 1.48 percent of the Moon's surface.

For those without a telescope, this small "dent" in the Moon's surface will be essentially invisible. However, even the casual observer will likely notice that the Moon's surface appears tarnished  - an effect that will likely be over by 5 p.m. EDT though the event will not technically end for another hour when the Moon will fully outside of Earth's shadow. 

In all, a total of 85 total lunar eclipses will take place between 2001 and 2100, according to NASA, accounting for 37.3 percent of all lunar eclipses during that time period. 

The last lunar eclipse to take place occurred on December 10, 2011 and will not take place again until April 15, 2015 and will be visible from the Americas, Australia and the Pacific Ocean.

The longest total lunar eclipse to take place in the 20th century occurred July 16, 2000 and lasted for 1 hr 46 min.

For a complete list of this year's eclipses, click here.

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