The partial solar eclipse on April 30, 2022 was only seen by a lucky few. However, the total lunar eclipse on the night of May 15, 2022 will be visible to about 2.7 billion people on the night side of the Earth. This includes residents of North America, Africa, South America, and Central and Western Europe.
The celestial spectacle will begin at 10:30 p.m. EDT (7:30 p.m. PST) on May 15, 2022, when Earth’s shadow begins to move across the front of the Moon. At 11:28 p.m. EDT (8:28 p.m. PST), our planet will completely cover the surface of the Moon for a impressive 85 minutes. By comparison, the “totality” phase of the May 26, 2021 lunar eclipse lasted just 16 minutes. Our satellite will emerge from Earth’s shadow at approximately 2:12 a.m. EDT (11:12 a.m. PST).
In the United States, the best views will be reserve for those in the Eastern and Central regions. They will be able to watch the nearly four-hour film show from beginning to end. While the western United States will miss the start of the eclipse, most residents witness the spectacular “blood moon”. The best part? The lunar eclipse can be seen without goggles.
If bad weather prevents you from seeing the celestial spectacle, take comfort that this is the first of two in total lunar eclipses in 2022. The second, on November 8, 2022, will also be widely visible across North America.
Lunar Eclipses 101
Two conditions must be met for a total lunar eclipse occur: the Moon must be full and in perfect alignment with the Earth and the Sun. Lunar eclipses do not occur every full moon because the moon’s orbit is slightly inclined compared to that of the Earth. As a result, the three celestial objects are not in a straight line every full moon.
As you probably know, the Moon produce any light of its own – it just reflects light from the Sun. Thus, when the Earth places itself between the two space objects, it creates a shadow on the lunar surface. But instead of darkening, our satellite is turning into what is commonly referred to as a “blood moon.”
Spooky color – considered bad presage by some — is caused by rays from the Sun that bend around the edge of our planet and land on the Moon. That of the Earth atmosphere scatter the shortest wave length colors, such as green or blue, and only allows longer wavelengths – the redder end of the spectrum — to reach the lunar surface. This gives our satellite a sinister blood red appearance.
Resources: Space.com, Earthsky.com, Wikipedia.org