Immediately after the first solar eclipse of the year, a partial eclipse on April 30, a total lunar eclipse is on the horizon.
Between the afternoon of May 15 and the early morning of May 16, depending on your time zone, the Full Flower Moon will enter Earth’s shadow, causing a total lunar eclipse that will be visible from most of the Americas and Antarctica. , as well as the western reaches of Europe and Africa and the eastern side of the Pacific. Sky watchers in New Zealand, Eastern Europe and the Middle East will experience a penumbral eclipse, during which only the edge of Earth’s shadow falls on the moon.
According to TimeandDate.com, the partial eclipse will begin on May 15 at 22:28 EDT (0228 GMT on May 16), reaching its maximum on May 16 at 00:11 EDT (0411 GMT). That total eclipse effect can give the moon a reddish hue known as a blood moon. It will conclude at 1:55 am EDT (0555 GMT). The penumbral eclipse will start about an hour before and end about an hour after the partial eclipse.
Related: Lunar Eclipses: What are they and when is the next one?
Lunar eclipses always occur during full moons. Full moons occur when the moon is on the opposite side of Earth from the sun; the sun illuminates the entire face of the moon as seen from Earth’s perspective. Because the Moon’s orbit is tilted about 5 degrees compared to Earth’s orbit, the Moon normally avoids Earth’s shadow; a lunar eclipse occurs when it is not.
There are three types of lunar eclipses: penumbral, partial, and total. In a penumbral eclipse, the moon passes through the outer part of the landthe shadow of , which is quite diffuse, so there is only a slight darkening of the moon’s surface. A partial eclipse is when part of the moon enters Earth’s darkest shadow, or umbra, causing part of the moon to significantly darken.
And a total eclipse, as one might have guessed, is when the entire moon enters the darkest part of Earth’s shadow. A total eclipse will also include penumbral and partial phases as the moon makes its way into the umbra. The next lunar eclipse on May 15-16 will be a total lunar eclipse, although some places will lose stages while the sun is above the horizon.
During total lunar eclipses, the moon often appears blood red. This is because sunlight is refracted around the Earth as if the planet were a prism; light waves are stretched, so they appear on the redder side of the spectrum when they reach the moon. Color is also influenced by the condition of earth’s atmosphere; the moon can appear more orange or gold, depending on how much dust, cloud cover, or volcanic ash is in the air.
If you miss this total solar eclipse, don’t worry, there will be another one later this year on November 8. That will be visible in America, Oceania and Asia.