This weekend is a chance to witness a special celestial event, as a total lunar eclipse will be visible on the night of May 15/16. It’s a great opportunity to stop and look up to the sky, and we’ve got the details on how you can watch the event—whether you want to go outside and watch it yourself or just wrap up the inside and watch online want.
what to expect from a lunar eclipse
A binocular view of the total lunar eclipse occurring May 15-16, 2022. NASA/Goddard/Ernie Wright
An eclipse occurs when the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun, causing the Earth to cast a shadow on the Moon. It is relatively common to have a partial lunar eclipse, in which part of the Moon is covered by Earth, but this weekend’s event is a rare total lunar eclipse. This happens about once in a year and a half, when the Moon is completely in shadow.
As the Earth, Sun and Moon come into their positions, you will see a shadow appear on the face of the Moon, until it completely blocks it. The shadow is called the umbra, and the point at which it completely covers the moon is called totality.
For a more in-depth explanation of how lunar eclipses occur and how they differ from solar eclipses or the phases of the Moon, NASA has a helpful video:
how to watch lunar eclipse
The good thing about lunar eclipses is that, unlike solar eclipses, they are completely safe to watch and require no special equipment. If you have binoculars or binoculars, that’s a good excuse to take them out and observe the moon, but you can also watch the eclipse with the naked eye – provided there aren’t clouds in the way, so pass it through in good weather. fingers for.
It is possible to watch the eclipse from anywhere in the world where it is dark at the right time. In this case, it includes a full view of every phase of the eclipse from the eastern side of the United States and throughout South America. Totality will also be visible from many other places, including most of Africa and Central Europe. Take a look at the interactive NASA map to see when totality will occur where you are.
It should be easy to see when there is an eclipse. “During those hours, the entire half of Earth will be able to see it,” NASA astronomer Alphonse Stirling said. “You don’t have to try very hard to find a good vantage point. Just go outside!”
According to astronomer Mitzi Adams, the eclipse will also be an opportunity to see more stars: “No moon means more visible stars,” Adams said. “During totality, if the sky is clear, we can also see the Milky Way, which appears as a faint white river of distant stars in a curved arc.”
watch eclipse online
If you can’t get outside, if the weather is bad, or if you’re in a place where it won’t be dark at the right time, you can watch the eclipse online. NASA has a stream of eclipses featuring views from telescopes around the world, along with expert observations. The stream begins Sunday, May 15 at 11 p.m. ET (8 p.m. PT), and you can watch using the video embedded below: