There are four days left for the first lunar eclipse of the year and the expectation is growing. On this occasion it will be a total lunar eclipse, so our entire natural satellite will fall into the Earth’s shadow and thus obtain that particular reddish color characteristic of this type of astronomical event.
But when will it happen and where will be the best place to watch it? The total lunar eclipse swill be completely visible over most of North and South America, it will rise over northwestern North America and the Pacific Ocean, becoming visible in Africa and Europe. This eclipse will be the third of four Metonic lunar eclipses on the same date, each separated by 19 years.
Between the night of May 15 and the early morning of May 16, depending on the time zone, the Moon will enter the shadow of the Earth, causing a total lunar eclipse that will be visible from most of the Americas and Antarctica, as well as the western reaches of Europe and Africa and the eastern Pacific. Skywatchers in New Zealand, Eastern Europe and the Middle East will experience a penumbral eclipse, during which only the edge of Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon.
Between the night of May 15 and the morning of May 16, depending on the time zone, the Moon will enter the shadow of the Earth. (Picture: capture)
For greater temporal precision, depending on Timeanddate.com, The partial eclipse will begin on May 15 at 10:28 p.m. EDT (0228 GMT on May 16), peaking on May 16 at 12:11 a.m. EDT (0411 GMT). This total eclipse effect can give the moon a reddish tint known as a blood moon. And it will end at 1:55 a.m. EDT (05:55 GMT). The penumbral eclipse will begin about an hour before and end about an hour after the partial eclipse.
As reported by the Buenos Aires Planetarium, Galileo Galilei, Argentina, the eclipse will begin on Sunday, May 15 at 11:28 p.m. with the Full Moon at 66º above the northeast horizon. At this time, the partial phase of the eclipse will begin, with the Moon entering the umbra (the central part of the Earth’s umbra cone). After a little over an hour of slow and gradual obscuration, the moment of Totality will arrive: at 00:29 the Moon will be completely immersed in the Earth’s shadow cone. At that time, our satellite will be 74 degrees above the northern horizon.
“This spectacular stage of the eclipse will last 1 hour and 25 minutes, will have its central moment at 1:11 a.m. and will end at 1:54 a.m., when our eclipsed satellite will be located at a height of 69º… Why do we say “spectacular organize”? Because, as in every total eclipse, the Moon will take on a beautiful, pale reddish/orange color, due to weak sunlight filtering and refracting from Earth’s atmosphere into the shadow cone, saving our satellite from what else would it be absolute darkness,” the Planetarium statement explained.
A total eclipse also includes penumbral and partial phases when the moon makes its way into the shadows (Marcelo Regalado)
Immediately afterwards, the last stage of the phenomenon will begin: the exit of the Moon from the terrestrial shadow. From minute to minute, as it follows its orbital movement, direct sunlight will gradually re-illuminate it. This stage will end at 2:55 p.m. And with it, the most important part of the eclipse* will culminate. The Full Moon will return to its most usual aspect. White and bright. “From start to finish, we will have enjoyed 3 hours and 27 minutes of eclipse. Undoubtedly, a celestial spectacle as impressive as it is generous,” concludes the Planetarium.
There are three types of lunar eclipses: penumbral, partial and total. In a penumbral eclipse, the moon passes through the outer part of the shadow of the earth , which is quite diffuse, so there is only a slight darkening of the moon’s surface. A partial eclipse occurs when part of the moon enters Earth’s darkest shadow, or umbra, causing part of the moon to darken significantly.
And a total eclipse, as one might have guessed, is when the entire moon enters the darkest part of Earth’s shadow. A total eclipse also includes penumbral and partial phases when the moon makes its way into the umbra. The next lunar eclipse on May 15-16 will be a total lunar eclipse.
The Planetarium of Buenos Aires invites you to experience the day of the total lunar eclipse in its gardens
The last total lunar eclipse occurred on May 26, 2021, with a very short totality (less than 16 minutes), visible mostly from central and western North America. The last widely observable lunar eclipse visible from the Americas, called the Super Blood Wolf Moon eclipse, occurred on January 20-21, 2019.
If unstable weather is blocking your view of the next eclipse, there is at least some comfort in knowing that another total lunar eclipse will be widely visible over most of the Americas in the wee hours of November 8.