Tonight we will have a dark, melancholy and distinctly orange “Blood Moon”! On the evening of Sunday, May 15, and in the early hours of Monday, May 16, 2022, our natural satellite in space will pass through the Earth’s shadow.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth is precisely between the Sun and the full Moon, preventing direct sunlight from falling on the lunar surface. The only light that reaches the Moon is first filtered by the Earth’s atmosphere.
In effect, all of Earth’s sunrises and sunsets are projected onto the lunar surface at once. For 1 hour and 24 minutes, the Moon will be shrouded in the same reddish-orange light you can see just before sunset here on Earth.
Total lunar eclipses are spectacular events to behold with the naked eye – or through binoculars or a telescope – but they are not all the same.
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 the Earth’s 1.4 million km shadow in space. This only happens occasionally and can take anywhere from 105 minutes (as in 2018) to just five minutes (as in 2015).
From May 15-16, 2022, totality will last for 84 minutes as it travels through the southern half of the Earth’s shadow. Consequently, the Moon’s northern limb – which will be closer 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 Moon’s apparent size will not be noticeable.
From the surface of the Moon, the Earth will totally eclipse the Sun.
Anyone on the Moon would see a red ring around the Earth’s atmosphere, everything around them would turn red and it would be very cold.
From Earth it looks fabulous! Don’t miss it – it’s the astronomy event of the year.
Disclaimer: I am the editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.