By Margaux Poupard

Dust off your binoculars, or for you serious astronomy enthusiasts, get ready to show off your telescopes – it’s about to be the first eclipse of the year! A total eclipse is when the earth passes exactly between the full moon and the sun. But this one will be a bit more rare, as it will be one of a series of four total eclipses without a partial eclipse in between, also known as a lunar tetrad, and lately, what people are calling a Blood Moon

The Blood Moon will be visible to the naked eye on at around 9:55 p.m. on April 14, and continue overnight into April 15th. (If the latter date rings a faint bell, it's because it also happens to be tax day.) Total eclipse doesn’t begin until 12:08 a.m. on the 15th, moving into maximum eclipse at 12:46 a.m. The whole event will last for about 3 hrs and 35 minutes. 

Besides lunar eclipses being a celestial phenomenon in it of themselves,  Blood Moon earns its special name due the red color created when sunlight filtered around the earth’s atmosphere hits the moon. The moon will look like your favorite sunrise or sunset, appearing dusty red/orange. It also has a spiritual meaning to some Christians, who believe it's a message from God that the End-Times prophecy will come true.

The remaining three eclipses in the tetrad will happen October 8, April 8, 2015, and September 28, 2015. All will be visible in all parts of the US, but the upcoming “ring of fire” solar eclipse, happening on April 29, is limited to a small part of Antarctica.

Lucky for the entire Bay Area, we have a prime spot to gaze upon the Blood Moon. The Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland already has tickets available to the rare event. 

Image via Thinkstock