The total lunar eclipse will begin at 4:47 a.m. EDT (8:47 a.m. GMT) and end at 9:50 a.m. EDT (1:50 p.m. GMT), with the entire peak – the “blood moon” stage – occurring at 7:16 a.m. EDT (11:16 a.m. GMT). ). If it is daylight in your viewing location, you will have to watch webcasts of the eclipse to see it at its best.During lunar eclipseThe shadow of the Earth falls on the face of the moon as our planet moves between the moon and the sun. In a total lunar eclipse, the moon is completely covered by the Earth’s shadow while the Moon and the sun align on the exact opposite sides of our planet. So what does it look like and what can home sky watchers expect?
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Well, on the one hand, a lunar eclipse is “weird and it’s beautiful and unusual,” NASA science visualizer Ernie Wright, who uses scientific data to create animations and visuals, told Space.com. other visuals to help communicate complex science concepts. “A lunar eclipse is such a spectacular visual event that you go for it. During the partial phases, you see the moon slowly being eaten away, for maybe an hour, an hour and a half. “
“And then all of a sudden,” Wright added, “it’s a little darker, but it’s that dark red color too. And this is a chance for you to think of your place in the cosmos… to spend just a little time thinking about it. how amazing and how cool, and you’re in a very specific place to be able to see it. “
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One of the most striking visual characteristics of a lunar eclipse is the color red, as Wright mentioned. “During a total lunar eclipse, during the totality, the moon takes on this coppery red color,” this is how this phenomenon got the nickname ” Moon of blood“Totality describes the time during a total lunar eclipse in which the moon is completely in shadow.
This “unusual” colorful display is “caused by the refraction of light through the atmosphere of the Earth, ”Wright added. And the color can vary from one lunar eclipse to another, it depends on the distance between the moon and the center of the shadow. “
The color of the moon during an eclipse “also depends on the amount of dust and aerosols and all kinds of things in Earth’s atmosphere,” he said.
Wright added that amateur astronomers might have fun “evaluating the darkness of the moon in the color of the moon, because it gives us insight into what causes the color, we don’t fully understand it.” ”
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Now, while you can expect to see some sort of color shift across the face of the moon with a total lunar eclipse, “it’s hard to predict,” what exactly that will look like, Wright said. “We know some of the factors such as shadow depths, but we don’t know exactly what substances in Earth’s atmosphere create some of that color. So the more we observe them, the more we record them and take care to decide. what color they are, the better we can understand and perhaps predict in the future what color they will be. ”
Now, while the entire 2021 total lunar eclipse on May 26 will last less than 15 minutes, lunar eclipses are quite long compared to solar eclipses because, Wright says simply, “Earth’s shadow is so wider than the shadow of the moon ”. like, during a solar eclipse, the moon places itself between the Earth and the sun, casting a shadow on the Earth.
Editor’s Note: If you take a photo of the 2021 total lunar eclipse, let us know! You can send images and comments to [email protected].
Email Chelsea Gohd at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.