How to watch Tuesday’s total lunar eclipse

How to watch Tuesday’s total lunar eclipse


Hours before citizens across the country cast their ballots in contested midterm elections, an ominous red moon will loom in the sky. The last total lunar eclipse of 2022 is set to stain the moon red during the wee hours of Tuesday morning. Residents of both coasts will be able to watch the spectacle for a little less than 90 minutes.

Total lunar eclipses, commonly known as “blood moons,” only occur during a full moon when the Earth completely shields the moon from the sun. Once the sun, earth, and moon are precisely aligned, light from simultaneous sunrises and sunsets around Earth is projected onto the moon, briefly causing a copper-red plume on the moon’s surface. The more dust or clouds in Earth’s atmosphere during an eclipse, the redder the moon will appear, according to NASA.

From the Moon, a total lunar eclipse would shine a bright red aura around Earth’s dark surface.

“It’s a wonderful reminder of this really special connection between the Earth, the Moon and the Sun,” said Noah Petro, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter project scientist.

The full moon will glow copper-red from 5:17 AM to 6:42 AM ET. But lunar fanatics can wake up at 3:02 a.m. to watch the moon enter the outer part of Earth’s shadow, called a “penumbral” lunar eclipse; this will cause the moon to darken slightly. The partial eclipse, which will look like a bite has been taken from the surface of the moon, is scheduled to begin at 4:09 am.

Everyone on the night side of Earth will be able to see the eclipse. Viewers on the West Coast will be able to watch the entire lunar eclipse without interruption because it will take place in the middle of the night. East Coast residents will watch the copper moon sink into the horizon due to the early sunrise. Hawaii is an “absolutely ideal location” for viewing the eclipse, Petro said.

“Every place, actually west of the central part of the country, is in a slightly better place,” Petro said. “As with real estate, it’s all about location.”

The first lunar eclipse of the year bathed the moon in a rusty bronze mantle last May. Those in California and the Pacific Northwest could only view the second half of the eclipse.

Photos: A blood moon eclipse lights up the night sky

In any given year, there can be at least two lunar eclipses, and at most four, Geoff Chester, an astronomer and public affairs officer at the US Naval Observatory, told The Washington Post. If there are two in one year, both tend to be total lunar eclipses.

“Twice a year, someone somewhere on the planet will see a total lunar eclipse if it’s a year where we have two eclipses,” Chester said.

Unlike the blinding effect of a solar eclipse, no special equipment is needed to see the reddish hues, but observing in a dark environment away from bright lights provides the best viewing, according to NASA.

Astronomers can determine total lunar eclipses years in advance because of their knowledge of the Moon’s orbital patterns.

“It all boils down to knowing exactly the orbit of the moon, where we can predict eclipses of the sun and moon down to the minute,” Petro told the Post.

Although scientists can predict the exact time when the different phases of the eclipse will take place, there is one thing they cannot predict: its color. The hue of total lunar eclipses varies from eclipse to eclipse ranging from copper gold to dark red.

“We just don’t know exactly from eclipse to eclipse [what color] we will reach the time of totality. And that adds an element of fun to it,” Chester said.

This is the last time residents across the United States will be able to see a fully colored moon until May 14, 2025. But those who miss this sighting will be able to see partial and penumbral lunar eclipses between now and then.

A faint penumbral lunar eclipse is due on May 5 and 6 next year, and a partial lunar eclipse is scheduled for October 28, but neither of these eclipses will make the Moon appear red.

“Each eclipse is special because they are all wonderful opportunities to go out and look at the moon, our closest neighbor in space,” said Petro.

In two years, a total solar eclipse will travel from Texas to Maine

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