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What’s Up in the Nights Sky April 3rd 2015

A total eclipse of the Moon happens before or during dawn Saturday morning for the western half of North America; the farther west you are the better. It happens during Saturday evening for Australia and the Far East. This eclipse is barely total and for only about 12 minutes, from about 11:54 to 12:06 April 4th UT (GMT). Partial eclipse begins at 10:15 UT and ends at 13:45 UT. For maps and more, see the April Sky & Telescope, page 50, or the version online: Preview of April 4th’s Total Lunar Eclipse.

Can’t see it from where you are? Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles will run a live webcast from 11:00 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (4:00 to 7:30 April 4th UT).

On Friday evening for North America, the full Moon shines in Virgo with Spica well to its lower left, as shown here. Much closer to the Moon is fainter Gamma Virginis (Porrima), a close telescopic double star.