This weekend we have a total lunar eclipse! Everything you need to know about the event – ​​Teach me about Science

This weekend we have the first lunar eclipse of the year. (Image: Pixabay)

On May 15, the first lunar eclipse of the year will occur, it will be a total lunar eclipse that can be seen from almost the entire American continent. Regions that will see at least one phase: South/West Europe, South/West Asia, Africa, Much of North America, South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Antarctica.

A map showing where the lunar eclipse is visible from May 15-16, 2022. Contours mark the edge of the region of visibility at eclipse contact times. (Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Scientific Visualization Studio).

What is a lunar eclipse? A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon, Sun, and Earth line up. During a total lunar eclipse, 100 percent of the Moon is obscured by Earth’s cone-shaped shadow, known as the umbra. When the Moon is inside the umbra, it will turn a reddish hue. Lunar eclipses are sometimes called “blood moons” because of this phenomenon.

Why does the Moon take on the reddish color? According to NASA, the same phenomenon that makes our skies blue and our sunsets red causes the Moon to turn red during a lunar eclipse. It is called Rayleigh scattering. Light travels in waves, and different colors of light have different physical properties. Blue light has a shorter wavelength and is more easily scattered by particles in the Earth’s atmosphere than red light, which has a longer wavelength.

During a lunar eclipse, the Earth’s atmosphere scatters the sunlight. Blue light from the Sun is scattered, and longer wavelength red, orange, and yellow light pass through it more directly. (Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Scientific Visualization Studio).

For this reason, during the eclipse the light must first pass through the atmosphere of our planet. Red light passes more directly through the atmosphere. During this journey, the Earth’s atmosphere preferentially scatters the shorter-wavelength blue light, while red and orange light make it to the lunar surface. The more dust or clouds there are in Earth’s atmosphere during the eclipse, the redder the Moon will appear.

What time will it be given? A total lunar eclipse can be seen from all over the Earth that is experiencing the night, while the eclipse is taking place. But some will see the eclipse better than others, depending on location. Here you can see the schedule of the phases, the schedules by country will be available from tomorrow in our astronomy section:

Event UTC time EST Time
penumbral eclipse begins May 16, 01:32:05 May 15, 20:32:05
Partial eclipse begins May 16, 02:27:52 May 15, 21:27:52
Total eclipse begins May 16, 03:29:03 May 15, 22:29:03
maximum point of the eclipse May 16, 04:11:28 May 15, 23:11:28
The total eclipse ends May 16, 04:53:55 May 15, 23:53:55
Partial eclipse ends May 16, 05:55:07 May 16, 00:55:07
penumbral eclipse ends May 16, 06:50:49 May 16, 01:50:49

How to see the eclipse? Unlike a solar eclipse, lunar eclipses are safe to view with the naked eye. Binoculars and telescopes improve vision, but are not necessary. It is recommended that being located in a dark environment away from bright lights creates the best viewing conditions.

What happens if the night of the eclipse gets cloudy? Luckily these eclipses are long and go on for hours, so you might as well take a chance and wait for it to clear up. If not, you can follow some live broadcast. We will provide a broadcast in our astronomy section on the day of the eclipse. Stay on top of our news and don’t miss out on this great event!

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