Early in the morning after midnight tonight (May 26), the so-called Full Moon of Flowers will shift into Earth’s shadow in the first of two lunar eclipses to be seen this year (the other, a partial eclipse, will take place November 18). ). North America is about to see a varying portion of the May 26 eclipse, depending on where you live (the Maritimes, Quebec and eastern and half of northern Ontario do are unlucky, because the moon will have set before the start of the eclipse).
(View times from the west coast are at the bottom of this column.)
Eclipses occur when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are geometrically aligned, but this does not happen every month due to the moon’s slightly tilted orbit as it circles the Earth. However, a few times a year, this programming rewards us with an eclipse.
As the moon continues to creep into Earth’s large dark shadow, it turns a burnt orange or coppery color, which is very evident in the mid-eclipse, a phase called totality. Commonly referred to as the “blood moon,” people in ancient times saw it as a bad omen of an upcoming apocalypse or as having religious significance.
Lunar eclipses are very safe to observe and photograph. This dramatic color change on the lunar surface is the result of sunlight refraction through the Earth’s atmosphere, just as we see during nighttime sunsets. If you were on the moon for all of it, you would see a beautiful thin orange layer of Earth’s atmosphere and witness each sunset on the left half of the earth and each sunrise on the right half at the same time.
The next lunar eclipse will occur later this year, on November 19, and will be seen from most of Canada in its entirety.
(Two weeks after the June 10 lunar eclipse, there will be a spectacular partial solar eclipse at sunrise observed mainly from the upper eastern part of the continent. [B.C. will be left out for that one.] If the morning is clear, those with sun filters will see the eclipse through trees and distant buildings, which will be a fantastic photo opportunity. Note: Special precautions to avoid eye damage or even blindness should be taken when viewing or photographing solar eclipses. Please inquire about the proper use of approved filters or serious damage could result.)
Lunar eclipse times:
The moon sets before the start of the eclipse.
The partial shadow eclipse begins at 5:44 am The moon is already below the horizon for most places.
The partial shadow eclipse begins at 4:44 a.m.
Totality: the moon sets before totality begins.
The partial shadow eclipse begins at 3:44 a.m.
The totality occurs at the setting of the moon.
The partial shadow eclipse begins at 2:44 a.m.
Total starts at 4:11 a.m.
Mid eclipse at 4:18 a.m.
All ends at 4:25 a.m.
(The moon sets before the end of the partial eclipse.)
Until next time, clear skies.