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Watch it online tonight: a lunar eclipse and Mars gets close to Earth

14 APR 2014

Rhys400D_-_Lunar_Eclipse_Half_Moon_(by)Tonight will be a busy night for outer space, as Mars and Earth will be the closest they’ve been in seven years. Moreover, there will be a total Lunar eclipse at around 2 AM EDT. The eclipse takes place when the Moon passes behind the Earth, putting our planet in between the Moon and the Sun. It’s a beautiful and impressive display, and you can watch it all by either looking at the night sky or through livestreams online. This article by The Verge explains:

“While both Mars and the eclipse will be viewable by many simply by looking at the night sky, there are other ways to watch if you can’t make it out after dark. The Slooh community observatory will be streaming both events, starting with Mars at around 10PM EDT, with the eclipse following four hours later. NASA will also be streaming the eclipse, which you can check out directly here. It’s expected to last three hours, with the peak occurring at around 3:45 in the morning.

Today’s space spectacles were expected to be kicked off with one other event too: the third SpaceX resupply mission for the International Space Station (the first was back in 2012). But just two hours before launch, NASA announced that it was being put on hold until 3:29PM this Friday at the earliest due to a helium leak. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon cargo craft had been scheduled to take off from Cape Canaveral in Florida, with the Dragon carrying a total of 5,000 pounds of supplies for the ISS.

As part of the launch, for the first time the company planned to attempt to recover the first stage of the Falcon 9 from the ocean as a secondary objective. While SpaceX says the chances of a successful recovery are only about 30-40 percent, it views it as a chance “to gather as much data as possible to support future testing.” Today’s launch was going to be streamed live online as well, and — like other SpaceX launches — it’s likely that that will still be the case come its eventual takeoff.”

Click here to read the article in full.