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 morning.
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 blog-post).
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, weather-permitting.)
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 51 minutes.
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 Penumbral shadow
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
The 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 Native Americans.
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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Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Formerly Trustee, Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Pittsburgh suburb of Carnegie, Pennsylvania.
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