This graphic shows the configuration of the Sun, Earth, and Earth's Moon during a Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon. (Graphic sources: Wikipedia.org, By Sagredo - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3629491)
By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower
A Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse
of the Moon, visible in most of the Western Hemisphere, Western
Europe, and Africa, occurs late Sunday night and early Monday
A Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the
Moon is the only category of eclipses which is safe to view with the
unaided eyes (one-power), binoculars, and a telescope.
Live-stream Web-casts of this
Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Moon will be available for
observers not in a region where the Eclipse is visible in the sky, or
where weather conditions make such an observation impossible
(Internet links to these Live-streams near the end of this
Everyone on the night side or dark side
of the Earth can view at least part of any Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of
the Moon, weather-permitting. For the May 15 to 16 eclipse, only
people in north-western North America, eastern Europe, Asia, Middle
East, and the extreme eastern section of Africa could not view any
part of the eclipse in the sky; they would need to watch the eclipse
on the Internet.
Internet link to a graphic by NASA, showing areas of the Earth where the Eclipse will be visible weather-permitting, can be found near the end of this blog-post.
MAJOR STAGES OF TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE
/ TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE MOON –--
Late Sunday Evening, 2022 May 15 and
Early Monday Morning, 2022 May 16 -
[Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT)
/ Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)]
(Note that a Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse
of the Moon is the only type of Eclipse where the times of Eclipse
are the same world-wide when using Coordinated Universal Time, the
international time used by scientists. Everyone on the night side or
dark side of Earth can view this Eclipse in the sky,
Penumbral Lunar Eclipse Begins ---
Sun., 9:31:44 p.m. EDT / Mon., 1:31:44 UTC
Partial Lunar Eclipse Begins ---
Sun., 10:27:31 p.m. EST / Mon., 2:27:31 UTC
Total Lunar Eclipse Begins --- Sun.,
11:28:40 p.m. EDT / Mon., 3:28:40 UTC
Greatest Total Lunar Eclipse ---
Mon., 12:11:31 a.m. EDT / 4:11:31 UTC
Primary Moon Phase: Full Moon –
Flower Moon --- Mon., 12:14 a.m. EDT / 4:14 UTC
Total Lunar Eclipse Ends --- Mon.,
12:54:11 a.m. EDT / 4:54:11 UTC
Partial Lunar Eclipse Ends --- Mon.,
1:55:27 a.m. EDT / 5:55:27 UTC
Penumbral Lunar Eclipse Ends ---
Mon., 2:51:11 a.m. EDT / 6:51:11 UTC
A Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon
occurs when the orbit of the Moon brings our natural satellite into
the Earth's shadow (shadow caused by the Earth completely blocking
light from the Sun). The Earth's shadow, extending into Outer Space
from the night side or dark side of the Earth, is divided into two
sections: the dim Penumbra or Penumbral shadow, which encircles the
deeper Umbra or Umbral shadow.
A Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon
always occurs near the time, and including the time, of a Full Moon.
Many Native Americans called the Full Moon of May the Flower Moon,
but, more on that later. The Moon's orbit is slightly tilted, so most
months at the primary Moon phase of Full Moon, the Moon moves above
or below the Earth's shadow, with no Eclipse occurring. Only when the Full Moon crosses the plane of the Earth's orbit will a Lunar Eclipse occur.
When the Earth's dim shadow, known as
the Penumbra, falls on the Moon, it is called a Penumbral Lunar
Eclipse / Penumbral Eclipse of the Moon. Because the Earth's shadow
is dim in this case, this type of Eclipse is difficult to discern.
When the Earth's deep shadow, known as
the Umbra, falls on only part of the Moon's surface, this is known as
a Partial Lunar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Moon. This is more
easily visible, if you are in the right location and weather
conditions are acceptable.
A Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse
of the Moon is when the Earth's deep shadow, or Umbra, completely
envelops the Moon. Usually, a Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of
the Moon only occurs once every 2.5 years, approximately, as seen
from someplace in the world.
The last one happened on 2021 May 26. This is exactly one Lunar Year between the 2021 May 26 and 2022 May 16 Total Lunar Eclipses. A Lunar Year, 354.4 days long, is 11 days shorter than a Gregorian Calendar Year. A Lunar Year is composed of 12 Lunations. One Lunation is the time period between one Full Moon Phase and the next Full Moon Phase, or about 29.5 days.
Interestingly, it actually only takes 27 days, 7 hours, and 43 minutes for the Moon to make one complete orbit around the Earth (The Moon appears to move 12-to-13 degrees east, in the sky, every day; this is why moonrise is, on average, about 50 minutes later each day.). Due to the Earth's revolution around the Sun, the Moon must travel a couple extra days to make-up for the added distance and complete the Lunation.
The next Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Moon will occur on 2022 November 8, one Lunar Semester (6 Lunations) from the 2022 May 16 Eclipse. And, one Lunar Year from the 2022 May 16 Eclipse will be a slight Eclipse, a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse / Penumbral Eclipse of the Moon on 2023 May 5 to 6.
The total duration of the 2022 May 15 to 16
Eclipse will be 5 hours and 19 minutes. The duration of the Total
Phase of this Eclipse will be 1 hour and 25 minutes. The duration of
the Partial Phases of this Eclipse will be 2 hours and 2 minutes. The
duration of the Penumbral Phases of this Eclipse will be 1 hour and
Of course, "Totality" / Total
Phase of a Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Moon is the
most impressive part of this type of Eclipse, what most people wait
to see. The Partial Phases of the Eclipse are when a piece of the
Moon seems missing, as the Moon moves further into the Earth's main
shadow known as the Umbra, or as the Eclipse is ending and the Moon
is further moving out of the Earth's Umbra.
The Penumbral Phases of the Eclipse are
difficult to see, as the Moon moves into or out of the Earth's
secondary shadow or Penumbra. In this case, one would not see any
chunks or bites taken out of the Moon's disk, as one would see when
the Moon moves into the Umbra shadow during the Partial Phases.
Instead, if your eyes are very good, you may notice a slight dimming
of the light coming from the Moon, as the Moon moves further into the
Although no direct sunlight reaches the
Moon during a Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Moon, the
Earth's atmosphere refracts the sunlight around our planet allowing a
portion of the sunlight to continue to be transmitted to the Moon.
However, the refracted light reaching the Moon is primarily in the
yellow, orange, and red portion of the electromagnetic spectrum (the
Earth's atmosphere filters-out the violet, blue, and green colors),
as with orange or red-tinted sunrises and sunsets (during such a
Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Moon, a person standing on
the side of the Moon facing Earth could see all Earth sunrises and
sunsets simultaneously, as they viewed the Earth in a Total Solar
Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun --- but, even on the
Moon, a person would need to take strong precautions to ensure their
eye-sight is not damaged by such a view). Hence, it is orange or red
light that is reflected from the Moon back into your eyes during a
Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Moon.
Hence, particularly during the middle
of a Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Moon, the Moon will
not disappear from view but can be seen with an orange or reddish
tint, what some call "blood red" (this is sometimes
referred to as a “Blood Moon”). If the Earth had no atmosphere,
likely no sunlight would reach the Moon during a Total Lunar Eclipse
/ Total Eclipse of the Moon, and there would be no "Blood Moon;"
the Moon would seem to completely disappear.
A telescope or binoculars can make Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon observations more valuable. However, in the case of a Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon, binoculars or a telescope would not be necessary. A Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon can, usually, be easily observed with the naked-eyes (one-power).
For areas where a Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon occurs near the time of Moon-rise or Moon-set, a good view of the horizon would be necessary to achieve a good view of such an Eclipse. This would be particularly true for areas where hills or mountains,
tree-cover, or buildings could obstruct the view of the horizon.
A good view of the horizon may also be important when the Eclipse has a lower Declination, that is the object being viewed crosses the sky at a lower elevation in the sky. In the case of a Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon, such an object would always have a lower Declination during months in, and adjacent to, the season of Summer.
As with all celestial events observed from the surface of planet Earth,
sky weather conditions must be acceptable for a successful observation.
Inclement weather, including many clouds in the sky, can make a Lunar
Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon observation difficult, if not impossible. Again,, one or more Live-Stream Web-Casts on the Internet may be available if weather conditions do not allow direct viewing of the event.
Aristotle Discovers World is Round
Due, in Part, to Lunar Eclipse
Civilized society has known that the
Earth is not flat, but is round, for about 2500 years. The famous
Greek philosopher and academic, Aristotle who lived between 384 and
322 B.C., used a Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon as one
demonstration that the Earth is round.
This was documented in a book
he published around 350 B.C. As he observed the Earth's shadow pass
across the face of the Moon, he noticed that the shadow is curved,
which is one of three indications he found that the Earth is round.
As the percentage of the Earth's shadow which falls on the Moon is relatively small, an observation of the curvature of the Earth's shadow on the Moon is not easy to discern, particularly without use of binoculars or a telescope which were not available in Aristotle's day. One of the best times to search for curvature of the Earth's shadow on the surface of the Moon, during a Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Moon, is during the middle of either partial eclipse phase, when the largest portion of the shadow's edge can be viewed. The shadow's curvature may also be noticeable near the time just before total eclipse phase begins and just after total eclipse phase ends.
One of the other two indications, determined by Aristotle, was the concept that gravity
required a common center for a planetary body such as Earth. He also
noticed that different stars were seen from different locations on
our planet, and some stars cannot be seen from certain locations.
Full Moon of May
Primary Moon Phase of Full Moon occurs in May on Monday Morning, 2022
May 16 at 12:14 a.m. EDT / 4:14 UTC. At the mid-point of
Spring, with flowers finally starting to bloom after the long cold
Winter, the May Full Moon is primarily known as the Flower Moon to
Due to increasing fertility in
mid-Spring, along with the end of hard frosts and warmer temperatures better attuned to the bearing of young
and the raising of crops, in the Northern Hemisphere the Full Moon of
May is also known as the Mother's Moon, and the Corn-Planting Moon or
just Planting Moon. And, as Beltaine (better known as May Day, on May 1) was the time when farmers in
Medieval Europe would move their cows to the better Summer pastures,
it was also known as the Milk Moon.
As the Southern Hemisphere begins to
enter their colder months, their Full Moon names include Hunter's
Moon, Beaver Moon, and Frost Moon.
Full Moon of May Could Have Affected
U.S. Civil War
In a 2013 study, Astronomer Don Olson
and Researcher Laurie E. Jasinski from Texas State University claim
an errant shot, influenced by the Full Moon, could have affected the
outcome of the U.S. Civil War.
During the Battle of Chancellorsville
in Virginia, on 1863 May 2, Confederate soldiers inadvertently shot
Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. The General had been mistaken
for enemy troops when the mishap occurred.
According to the Texas State University
researchers, the angle of the moonlight of the Full Moon, that
evening, obscured the view of the Confederate infantrymen, the men of
the 18th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. Their conclusion is based
on the use moon phases and maps to reconstruct the incident.
General Stonewall Jackson lost his left
arm to amputation due to the incident. Due to his weakened condition,
he died of pneumonia eight days later.
Live-Stream Web-Casts of 2022 May 15 to 16 Total Lunar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Moon ---
Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles: Link >>> https://griffithobservatory.org/event/total-lunar-eclipse-broadcast/
Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Arizona (YouTube.com): Link >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRhFaNVxGrQ
TimeandDate.com: Link >>> https://www.timeanddate.com/live/eclipse-lunar-2022-may-16
Virtual Telescope Project (YouTube.com): Link >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3M6FSVRXWA
High Point Scientific (YouTube.com): Link >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j85KhAmgUuk
Internet Links to Additional Information ---
World Map Showing Areas of Eclipse Visibility (NASA): Link >>> https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/details.cgi?aid=4981&button=recent
Lunar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Moon: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_eclipse
Earth's Moon: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon
Our Solar System's Sun: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun
Additional links and information: Link >>> https://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2022.html#luneclipse20220516
Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower,
a project of Friends
of the Zeiss
Friday, 2022 May 13.
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