Total lunar eclipse 2022: The first total lunar eclipse of 2022 will turn the Moon red. Here is why.
The first total lunar eclipse of 2022 will take place on May 15-16 (the night of May 15 in the Western Hemisphere) when the Moon enters the Earth’s shadow, creating a total lunar eclipse, the first since May of 2021. The eclipse will turn the Moon red. “The total lunar eclipse of May 16, 2022 (the night of May 15 in the Western Hemisphere) occurs near perigee, making the Moon appear about 7% larger than average. This eclipse is ideally timed for viewing from most of the Western Hemisphere, including the Lower 48 of the United States. The total phase occurs near moonset in Africa and western Europe,” NASA said in a report.
What is lunar eclipse
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth, and Moon align so that the Moon passes into Earth’s shadow. In a total lunar eclipse, the entire Moon falls within the darkest part of Earth’s shadow, called the umbra. When the Moon is within the umbra, it will turn a reddish hue. Lunar eclipses are sometimes called “Blood Moons” because of this phenomenon, according to NASA.
Why the Moon turns red during a lunar eclipse
The Moon turns red during a lunar eclipse because of the same phenomenon that makes the sky blue and sunsets red. It’s called Rayleigh scattering. Light travels in waves, and different colors of light have different physical properties. Blue light has a shorter wavelength and is scattered more easily by particles in Earth’s atmosphere than red light, which has a longer wavelength.
Red light, on the other hand, travels more directly through the atmosphere. When the Sun is overhead, we see blue light throughout the sky. But when the Sun is setting, sunlight must pass through a greater amount of atmosphere and travel farther before reaching our eyes. The blue light from the Sun scatters away, and longer-wavelength red, orange, and yellow light pass through.
During a lunar eclipse, the Moon turns red because the only sunlight reaching the Moon passes through Earth’s atmosphere. The more dust or clouds in Earth’s atmosphere during the eclipse, the redder the Moon will appear, NASA explains.
Who will be able to see the first lunar eclipse of 2022
Between the late evening of May 15 and the early morning of May 16, the eastern half of the United States and all of South America will have the opportunity to see every stage of the lunar eclipse. While totality will be visible in much of Africa, western Europe, Central and South America, and most of North America.
How to watch total lunar eclipse 2022 live online
Livestreams of the eclipse from locations across the United States will be featured by NASA. It will host an episode of NASA Science Live, from 11 p.m. – 12 a.m. ET. You can watch the eclipse on NASA’s official page on Facebook, YouTube, NASA Television, NASA.gov/live.
It can be known that the year 2022 will see another total lunar eclipse later this year that is on November 8.