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FAQs

What is a Blood Moon?

This is what a total eclipse looks like.  This is the total eclipse of October 27, 2004 via Fred Espenak of NASA, otherwise known as Mr. Eclipse.  Visit Fred's page here.

This is what a total eclipse looks like. This is the total eclipse of October 27, 2004 via Fred Espenak of NASA. Visit Fred’s page here. We astronomy writers often describe a totally eclipsed moon as appearing ‘blood red.’ Here’s why the moon turns red during a total eclipse.

The first Blood Moon eclipse in a series of four happened on the night of April 14-15, 2014. The next one will be on the night of October 7-8, 2014.

Why aren’t there eclipses at every full and new moon?

Photo credit: pizzodisevo

A solar eclipse happens at the new moon – when the moon passes between the sun and Earth. A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth, sun and moon align in space, with Earth in the middle. Why aren’t there eclipses at every full and new moon?

Why do tree leaves turn red in fall?

Image Credit: treehouse1977

Image Credit: treehouse1977

In the fall, the leaves of some trees turn yellow, orange or red. The bright colors are wonderful to behold. But do they have some hidden purpose?

What’s the birthstone for October?

Photo credit: Orbital Joe

Tourmaline via Orbital Joe

Meet tourmaline. It’s one of two birthstones for October. The other October birthstone is opal. More info inside this post. And happy birthday October babies!

How to watch a total eclipse of the moon

Total lunar eclipse mosaic by eclipse master Fred Espenak.   Visit his page for the April 14-14 eclipse.

Total lunar eclipse mosaic by eclipse master Fred Espenak. Visit his page for the April 14-14 eclipse.

Is a solar flare the same thing as a CME?

Your Friday FAQ …

Solar flares and CMEs – coronal mass ejections – are both gigantic explosions of energy on the sun, but they’re not the same thing.

Why aren’t day and night equal on the day of the equinox?

Image via Wikipedia

Image via Wikipedia

For North American time zones, the 2014 autumnal equinox will come on Monday, September 22 at 10:29 p.m. EDT, 9:29 p.m. CDT, 8:29 p.m. MDT or 7:29 p.m. PDT. This equinox falls on Tuesday, September 23 at 2:29 UTC.

Twice a year – on the March and September equinoxes – everyone worldwide supposedly receives 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night. Yet, in actuality, there is more daylight than nighttime on the day of the equinox. Why?

Why am I the one mosquitos always bite?

Photo credit: Macroscopic Solutions

Photo credit: Macroscopic Solutions

Here’s a Friday FAQ in honor of the passing of the summer.

What are cloud streets?

cloud-streets-bering-sea-20jan2006-540

Cloud streets over the Bering Sea on January 20, 2006. Image Credit: Jesse Allen, NASA.

Your Friday FAQ. Find out what they are and how they form. And check out these cool images!

What’s the birthstone for September?

The Logan Sapphire Brooch, the second largest sapphire known (at 422.99 carats), is on display at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Image Credit: Andrew Bossi

The Logan Sapphire Brooch, the second largest sapphire known (at 422.99 carats), is on display at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Image Credit: Andrew Bossi

Happy birthday to all you September babies!

Your birthstone, the sapphire, was said to represent the purity of the soul.