On the night of Sunday, May 15th, the moon will enter the Earth’s shadow creating a lunar eclipse, the first since May of 2021. If the weather is clear, the total lunar eclipse will be widely visible from the Americas on May 15th and in Africa/Europe on May 16th. There is a chance that lingering aerosols from the Tonga volcanic eruption in January of this year could actually turn the moon a darker shade of red compared to what we have seen in recent years.
The eclipse begins when the moon enters the penumbra which is the part of the Earth’s shadow where the Sun is only partially covered by the Earth. The umbra is where the Sun is completely hidden. The Moon’s appearance isn’t affected much by the penumbra. The first glimpse of the penumbra may be seen as a faint “smudge” on the left part of the moon’s disk around 10:10 PM (EDT) on Sunday, the 15th. The real action begins when the Moon starts to disappear as it enters the umbra at about 10:28 PM. An hour later, when entirely within the umbra, the Moon usually takes on a coppery red color, but lingering aerosols from the Tonga volcanic eruption could make for a darker shade of red than normal.
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