AUTIN (KXAN) — On Sunday, May 15, the Earth will cast its shadow on the Moon. Depending on the weather, you may see this total lunar eclipse.
What is a lunar eclipse?
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth comes between the sun and the moon. This means that all of the sun’s rays are blocked by the Earth, causing the Earth’s shadow to darken the moon.
A total lunar eclipse means that the entire moon is shrouded in darkness.
The moon is not exactly invisible, however. As Earth’s atmosphere scatters blue light, red light passes through Earth’s atmosphere and refracts toward the moon, causing a reddish glow. The more clouds or dust in Earth’s atmosphere, the redder the moon will be.
When can I see it?
According to Nasa, the moon will begin to enter Earth’s partial umbra shortly after 9:30 p.m. ET on Sunday evening. You will be able to see a slight darkening of the Moon around 10:28 p.m. ET. Earth’s full shadow will cover the Moon an hour later.
The eclipse will peak at 12:11 a.m. ET Monday. NASA says the moon will begin to leave Earth’s shadow at 12:54 a.m. and fully emerge at 1:55 a.m.
You can observe lunar eclipses without protective gear. You’ll get a much better view with binoculars, or even better, a telescope.
What if I miss it?
The next total lunar eclipse visible from the United States will occur later this year on November 8, 2022.
The May 15 eclipse is the second of the year but the first visible from the United States. A partial solar eclipse has already occurred on April 30. Another will take place on October 25, but the United States will not be able to see it.