End of days or stellar photo op? Rare ‘blood moon’ eclipses start tonight

Blood moon
The moon will have a crimson glow during the April 15 total lunar eclipse.

In the early morning of April 15, the sky will host a rare type of lunar eclipse – one in which the moon will have a crimson coloration.

Around 2 a.m. ET on Tuesday, the moon will begin to pass through the Earth’s shadow. The refraction of the sun’s light will give the appearance of a red-colored moon, according to NASA officials. This event will be visible from virtually anywhere in North America without the aid of a telescope or similar ocular devices.

The upcoming eclipse, which is being referred to as a “blood moon,” is the first in a series of four – called a tetrad – that will occur throughout 2014 and 2015 in six-month intervals.

Eclipses only occur about twice a year, and NASA has confirmed that the tetrad has only occurred three times in the last 500 years. The blood moon phenomenon is being called a rare occurrence by many people, but others speculate that this event could be an apocalyptic sign from the heavens; we’ll let you pick the side you want to be on.

blood moon chart

The Weather Channel forecasts heavy cloud cover over most of the U.S. during the eclipse. If the weather obstructs the view in your city or if you’re located in another country, you can view the entire event online courtesy of NASA. To those spectators who remain deterred by lowered visibility, a U.S. Naval Observatory site allows you to input your location and get specific times for the phases of this and other lunar eclipses.

In any case, this cosmic event is a must-see and you should have a camera handy to record the historic experience. Should you happen to miss it, the next blood moon in the series will occur in October of this year. Click here to read more about this phenomenon.

Here’s how to photograph the event, the simplest way: If you’re using a compact point-and-shoot, you’re not going to get an up-close view of the moon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t capture something. Your camera, however, has to be able to take long exposures, which many advanced models can do (check your instruction manual); if it’s a basic point and shoot, look for a scene mode for night photography or fireworks. Set the camera on a tripod and make sure the lens is at the widest angle (so, do not zoom out). If  you have a camera that lets you make adjustments, make sure you choose a low ISO like 400, the widest aperture available (the smallest f-stop number), and a shutter speed of 5 seconds – you can set your camera to manual mode. Practice taking a few shots a day or few hours before the event (when it’s dark), and if you’re satisfied with your results, get ready to snap away when the moon turns blood red. If you have a long telephoto zoom, you can try zooming all the way, but always use a tripod. For more advanced photography tips, like shooting star trails and telephoto, check out these guides from Nikon and Mr. Eclipse.

(Images and video © NASA)

Movies & TV

Why First Man’s Oscar-nominated visual effects are a giant leap for filmmaking

Paul Lambert, the award-winning visual effects supervisor on First Man, reveals the innovative techniques that blended old footage with modern movie magic to make the Apollo 11 mission to the moon resonate with audiences 50 years later and…
Product Review

With the RX100 VI, Sony proves it still makes the best point-and-shoot camera

The sixth generation of Sony's powerful but compact RX100 camera delivers more zoom, incredible speed, robust 4K video, and still fits in the palm of your hand.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in several genres for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Deals

The best budget-friendly GoPro alternatives that won’t leave you broke

Cold weather is here, and a good action camera is the perfect way to record all your adventures. You don't need to shell out the big bucks for a GoPro: Check out these great GoPro alternatives, including some 4K cameras, that won’t leave…
Photography

Photography news: Wacom’s slimmer pen, Leica’s cinema special edition

In this week's photography news, Wacom launches a new slimmer pen for pro users. Leica's upcoming M10-P is designed for cinema, inside and out, with built-in cinema modes in the updated software.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Photography

Mirrorless cameras were built to be compact, so why have they gotten so heavy?

Mirrorless cameras launched as portable alternatives to bulky and complex DSLRs -- so why are they getting bigger and heavier? Cameras are trending towards heavier models, but that change comes with more advanced features.
Mobile

Be careful who you bokeh, jokes Apple’s latest iPhone ad

With iPhone sales under pressure, you'd think there wouldn't be much to laugh about at Apple HQ. But the company has seen fit to inject some humor into its latest handset ad, which highlights the camera's Depth Control feature.
Photography

What’s the difference between Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic?

Lightroom CC has evolved into a capable photo editor, but is it enough to supplant Lightroom Classic? We took each program for a test drive to compare the two versions and see which is faster, more powerful, and better organized.
Photography

Luminar’s libraries gain speed, drop need for you to manually import images

Luminar 3 just got a performance boost. Skylum Luminar 3.0.2 has improved speed over December's update, which added the long-promised libraries feature giving editors a Lightroom alternative.
Photography

When you're ready to shoot seriously, these are the best DSLRs you can buy

For many photographers the DSLR is the go-to camera. With large selection of lenses, great low-light performance, and battery endurance, these DSLRs deliver terrific image quality for stills and videos.
Photography

The best place to print photos online in 2019

Have you been looking around for the best place to print out your favorite photos online or in store? Don't fret, we've pored through dozens of options and narrowed it down to the seven best.
Photography

The Panasonic FZ1000 gets a much-needed update alongside the smaller ZS80 zoom

Panasonic's 2014 superzoom camera with a larger sensor has finally seen an update. The new Panasonic FZ1000 II has a sensor that's better for low light, more physical controls, and new 4K Photo Mode features.
Photography

Watch the construction of a 270-degree fisheye lens, the widest ever

Think you've seen wide fisheye lenses? Think again. A team from Lensrentals recently shared a behind-the-scenes look at a custom prototype 4.5mm fisheye lens, which captures a whopping 270-degree view.