What to expect with weekend total lunar eclipse

What to expect with weekend total lunar eclipse

This Sunday night, May 15, you should be able to spot a total lunar eclipse overhead. Skies are forecast to be partly cloudy to mostly clear when the celestial event begins at 9:32 p.m.

A lunar eclipse is when the full moon crosses into Earth’s shadow. The moon passed directly in line behind our planet and the sun and the cast shadow illuminates the moon a brilliant red.

Be sure to stay up late to see totality which is a hallmark of the total lunar eclipse’s red glow. Remember it is completely safe to watch a lunar eclipse in contrast to a solar eclipse which can damage the eyes from the sun’s radiation.

The entire event will take just over 5 hours from when the Moon begins to dim very slightly during the penumbra just after 9:30 p.m. until the eclipse officially ends at 2:50 Monday morning.

You can sleep through the first part and not miss much but plan to watch after 10:28 p.m. when the Earth’s shadow will appear to take a bite out of the moon. Then about an hour later the moon continues to darken in the umbra until it reaches the moment of greatest eclipse known as totality at 12:12 a.m.

The red color comes from the effect our atmosphere plays on separating colorful components that make up white sunlight. Earth’s atmosphere filters or scatters the blue light leaving behind red rays that bend past the planet. The sunlight reaches the moon’s surface with a reddish hue similar to the mechanism that turns our sunsets fire-orange.


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