As summer approaches and the weather warms up, our nearest celestial neighbor has a special treat for skywatchers – a total lunar eclipse visible across North and South America on the night of Sunday, May 15.
The eclipse will begin when the Earth’s shadow appears on the moon at 10:27 p.m. EDT Sunday night. Over the course of an hour, the shadow will creep across the moon, covering the lunar surface into darkness.
During the 84-minute event, the moon will only receive sunlight bent through the Earth’s atmosphere and will change color over the minutes, from gray to pink to orange to red– which is why it’s referred to as a “blood moon.”
The “super” part of the upcoming full moon stems from the close proximity of the moon to the earth, making it appear much larger than usual. The Old Farmer’s Almanac reports that there will be four super moons in 2022.
Sunday’s sky show is also the “flower” moon, a name given to May’s full moon because “flowers spring forth across North America in abundance this month,” according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
Other names for May’s full moon include the corn planting moon and the milk moon, says NASA.
By the way, there’s no need for special glasses for this show, unlike a solar eclipse, so feel free to stare directly at the moon. Binoculars or a telescope will improve the view…as does popcorn.
This will be the first of two lunar eclipses in 2022.