Exactly When, Where And How You Can See Next Week’s Best-Timed ‘Blood Moon’ Of The Century

When is the next eclipse? During the evening of Sunday, May 15 and into the early hours of Monday, May 16, 2022 a total lunar eclipse—also known as a “Blood Moon”—will be visible from North and South America, plus parts of Europe and Africa.

During the event a larger-than-usual full Moon—May’s “Flower Moon”—will enter the center of Earth’s shadow for a whopping 84 minutes, turning an eery dark copper-reddish color as it does so.

Here’s everything you need to know about the “Super Flower Blood Moon Eclipse”—also known as the total lunar eclipse—including exactly when, where and how to see it from North America.

What is a total lunar eclipse ‘Blood Moon?’

A total lunar eclipse occurs when a full Moon passes through Earth’s shadow in space. Each month the New Moon passes roughly between the Earth and the Sun and then orbits to the other side of Earth to the Sun to become a full Moon. When those alignments are precise they cause either a solar or lunar eclipse.

The Moon’s orbit is titled in respect to the ecliptic—the Sun’s apparent path through our daytime sky—so only very occasionally does a New Moon eclipse the Sun (a total solar eclipse) and/or a full Moon travel through the Earth’s shadow (a total lunar eclipse).

Why the total lunar eclipse is so well-timed

The first total lunar eclipse for two years, it will be observed entirely by the eastern half of North America. However, in the western half of North America the totality phase—when the full Moon will turn reddish—will be a prime-time Sunday evening event. It will occur from around 8:29 pm to 9:53 pm PDT/MST, and 9:29 pm to 10:53 pm MDT. Kudos to Timeanddate.com for spotting that it’s the longest prime-time eclipse of the century for that part of the world.

In Europe and Africa totality occurs close to moonset and sunrise on Monday, May 16, so observers there will need to rise very early and look to the west.

Where is the total lunar eclipse ‘Blood Moon?’

Here’s an interactive Google Map of the eclipse. It occurs on the night-side of Earth at the same global time. That shifts west during the eclipse, so those near the eastern edge of the visibility region—in Europe and Africa—will see only part of the eclipse just before the Moon sets.

When is the total lunar eclipse ‘Blood Moon’

Here’s when to be outside where you are—though about an hour before and after it will be possible to see the very odd sight of the Moon in partial eclipse. However, if you only want to go outside briefly then this is when to do that:

  • 11:29 pm-oo:53 am EDT on Sunday May 15-Monday, 16, 2022 (max. totality at 00:11 am)
  • 10:29-11:53 pm CDT on Sunday May 15, 2022 (max. totality at 11:11 pm)
  • 9:29-10:53 pm MDT on Sunday May 15, 2022 (max. totality at 10:11 pm)
  • 8:29-9:53 pm PDT on Sunday May 15, 2022 (max. totality at 9:11 pm)

Why the ‘Blood Moon’ is reddish

During the Moon’s long journey through Earth’s shadow the only light that will reach the lunar surface will first have been filtered through Earth’s atmosphere. That makes it red. Short-wavelength blue light from the Sun hits molecules in Earth’s atmosphere and scatters, but longer-wavelength red and orange light mostly travels right through, striking fewer molecules. So the dominant color of light seen on the Moon for that short time will be red.

The physics is the same as for a sunset or sunrise. In fact, during a lunar eclipse the effect is like thousands of sunrises and sunsets being projected onto the lunar surface.

Disclaimer: I am the editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.

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