Lunar Eclipse – May 2022

A lunar eclipse was visible for most of North America the night of 15 & 16 May 2022 as the Moon passed through the Earth’s shadow.  Hampered by increasing cloudiness I was only able to capture the beginning of the lunar eclipse through totality.  After that, approaching storms with lightning obscured the rest of the event.

The penumbral eclipse begins as the Moon enters the outer part of Earth’s shadow.
The Earth’s shadow, the umbra, begins to move across the surface of the Moon as the partial eclipse begins.
The Earth’s shadow continues to devour the Moon.

An overexposed image showing detail in the Moon’s shadowed regions.
The Moon is almost completely in the Earth’s shadow as seen through a thin cloud.
Totality approaches with the Moon almost completely in the Earth’s shadow. The Moon is currently in the constellation of Libra and one of its stars is visible at left.

Totality. The Moon is in the deepest part of Earth’s shadow. The red hue is caused by light streaming around the edge of the Earth in a phenomenon called Rayleigh scattering.
NASA gives this explanation for Rayleigh scattering: Why does the Moon turn red during a lunar eclipse?
The same phenomenon that makes our sky blue and our sunsets red causes the Moon to turn red during a lunar eclipse. 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 more 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. It’s as if all the world’s sunrises and sunsets are projected onto the Moon. PHOTO: NASA
The view of a lunar eclipse as viewed from the Moon, with the Earth hiding the Sun. A red ring, the sum of all Earth’s sunrises and sunsets, lines the Earth’s limb and casts a ruddy light on the lunar landscape. With the darkness of the eclipse, the stars come out.

The city lights of North and South America are visible on the night side of the Earth. The part of the Earth visible is the part where the lunar eclipse can be seen. PHOTO: NASA

All image of the eclipse were taken from the backyard making for one of the more convenient celestial events as far as traveling is concerned.

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