A dark, haunting, distinctly orange “blood moon” awaits us tonight! On the afternoon of Sunday, May 15, and until the early hours of Monday, May 16, 2022, our natural satellite in space will pass through the shadow of the Earth.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth comes precisely between the Sun and the full Moon, preventing direct sunlight from shining onto the lunar surface. The only light that reaches the Moon is first filtered by Earth’s atmosphere.
In effect, all sunrises and sunsets on Earth are projected onto the lunar surface at once. For 1 hour and 24 minutes, the Moon will be enveloped in the same reddish-orange light that you can see just before sunset here on Earth.
Total lunar eclipses are spectacular events to behold with the naked eye, or with binoculars or a telescope, but not all are created equal.
They all look different because they all pass through Earth’s shadow in space in a slightly different way.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when a full Moon passes through Earth’s shadow 870,000 miles/1.4 million km in space. That happens occasionally, and can take anywhere from 105 minutes (as in 2018) to just five minutes (as in 2015).
On May 15 and 16, 2022, totality will last 84 minutes as it travels through the southern half of Earth’s shadow. Consequently, the northern limb of the Moon, which will be closest to the center of Earth’s shadow, is predicted to be quite dark during totality.
It will also be slightly larger than the average Moon. That’s because it’s technically a “supermoon,” one of the four closest full Mons of the year. However, the 7% increase in the apparent size of the Moon will not be noticeable.
From the surface of the Moon, the Earth will totally outshine the Sun.
Anyone on the Moon would see a red ring around the Earth’s atmosphere, everything around them would look red and it would be very cold.
From Earth it looks fabulous! Do not miss it, it is the astronomical event of the year.
Disclaimer: I am the publisher of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com
I wish you clear skies and wide eyes.