The first lunar eclipse of the year takes place this weekend. And we have two reasons to celebrate: he will be of the total type, the most beautiful; and Brazil will be privileged, right in the center of the observation zone.
On the night of Sunday (15) to Monday (16), the phenomenon will be visible throughout South and Central America, in addition to the eastern portion of North America and Antarctica.
The best times to view it from Brazil involve the period when the phenomenon is in its full phase: between 00:30 (Brasilia time) and 1:50 am, with the Moon gaining a very reddish color. That’s why it gets the name “Blood Moon”. The peak will be reached around 1:10 am.
Imagem: Time and Date
A lunar eclipse happens when the Moon, Earth and Sun are aligned, in that order. Of course, it’s a typical full moon night. From time to time, however, our satellite positions itself in the area of the Earth’s shadow — due to the angle of its orbit, which is neither a perfect circle nor a centered one.
That’s when we have an eclipse, which can be total, partial (part of the Moon covered) or penumbral (just a shadow that reduces the brightness of the satellite).
The full phenomenon of now will last over five hours, from 10:30 pm on Sunday to 3:50 am on Monday.
If the sky is clear, we’ll have a rare chance to catch every phase of the Moon being obscured by our planet’s shadow, darkening, turning red, and then returning to its usual brightness.
Check the schedule:
10:32 pm: penumbral eclipse –Earth’s shadow begins to touch the face of the Moon23:27: partial eclipse — the moon turns reddish00:29: beginning of total eclipse — Moon turns very red1:11: maximum eclipse — the Moon is right in the center of the Earth’s shadow1h53: end of total eclipse2h55: end of partial eclipse3h50: end of penumbral eclipse
In the video below, from a previous eclipse, you can see the process:
Why does the moon turn red?
An eclipse of this type happens when the Earth blocks light from reaching our satellite (which has no brightness of its own).
The Moon turns red and not “black” due to the optical effect known as Rayleigh scattering, when sunlight is refracted and scattered by the Earth’s atmosphere — the same thing that colors sunrises and sunsets and makes the sky blue. during the day. Thus, the indirect light that arrives on the Moon will be filtered by this mechanism.
If we were to witness an eclipse from the Moon, we would see Earth completely obscuring the Sun, letting out the solar corona with its bright rays, and a ring around the planet — just sunlight reflected back into our atmosphere by Rayleigh Scattering.
Unlike a solar eclipse, which can only be seen in specific areas of the globe, lunar eclipses are visible — at least partially — on the entire “night” side of the Earth at that time.
How to observe?
No special protection or instrument is needed to observe. Just look directly at the Moon.
Finding the full moon (an eclipse always happens at this stage) won’t be difficult: it rises around 5:15 pm in the east. At the time of the eclipse, you will be high in the sky.
The phenomenon will be visible from anywhere in the Brazilian territory. With a camera with a zoom lens, you can get amazing records, like this:
We’ve got your Sunday night plans right here!
On the night of May 15, and into the early hours of May 16, skywatchers will be treated to a phenomenon which takes place every 1.5 years or so: a total lunar eclipse.
Learn how to view the eclipse HERE: https://t.co/QpYaOQBlJb pic.twitter.com/V9xdYGQiZ7
— NASA Marshall (@NASA_Marshall) May 12, 2022
Some YouTube channels will broadcast the lunar eclipse in real time, such as NASA, the National Observatory and the King of the Universe Astronomical Observatory (OARU).
There is a second total lunar eclipse in 2022, on November 7th, but it will only be very faintly observable in Brazil, at the very end of the penumbral phase.
Astronomers estimate that about a third of lunar eclipses are total. From the same country, it is possible to see a total lunar eclipse approximately every 2.5 years. It will only be repeated in Brazil in 2025 – but the entirety of our territory will not be covered, as in this one.
The weekend phenomenon is really rare. Enjoy.