A very different full moon transforms the May sky

Lunar and solar eclipse (Photo courtesy of NASA)
Lunar and solar eclipse (Photo courtesy of NASA)

You won’t need special eye gear to watch an eclipse when Sunday, May 15, 2022 becomes Monday, May 16.

If following the names of full moons each month, you know they reflect the season and nature whether in Native Indian, European or religious context. So, you won’t be surprised that May’s full moon is also called the Flower Moon. Other names of the May full moon are Corn Moon and Milk Moon.

But, the full moon for May 2022 is also called the Blood Moon.

Watch the May Moon start out as a large, silvery somewhat yellowish (depending on where you are and your atmosphere), full-sized globe when it appears on your horizon.

It will seem larger than usual even though it hasn’t changed shape. The full moon is close to being a Supermoon because its orbit brings it so close to earth.

Keep watching to experience a lunar eclipse.

As it rises, it will move into Earth’s shadow. Remember at the height of a full eclipse you’ll have the Sun, Earth and Moon in a direct line.

It starts out in the penumbral, somewhat less noticeable phase, because the full May Moon is in the lighter part of the Earth’s shadow. It moves into our planet’s partial shadow at 9:32 p.m. EDT.

Watch as it looks as if a bite is being taken out of the Moon as it is in partial eclipse stage. The Moon will then move into the Earth’s full shadow for more than an hour: 11:29 p.m. on Sunday night until 12:54 a.m. Monday morning. The eclipse reaches its peak at 12:11 a.m. At the back end, the partial eclipse ends at May 16 at 1:55 a.m. EDT.

Its reddish, brownish color happens as the Earth’s atmosphere refracts some light from the sunrise and sunset conditions around our planet.

To find the sunrise and sunset times in your area visit the  Old Farmer’s Almanac which has a site calculator. Your time zone matters if watching the eclipse.

Another watch choice is at Time and Date which has a YouTube live stream connection.

For more May Moon information visit NASA . For the area covered by the eclipse see EarthSky. For information on how the lunar eclipse fits with April’s recent  partial solar eclipse visit Space.

 

 

 

 

Sky Watch: Partial solar followed by full lunar eclipse and meteorites

Lunar and solar eclipse (Photo courtesy of NASA)
Lunar and solar eclipse (Photo courtesy of NASA)

Unless you are in the Southern Hemisphere, particularly the southern part of South America, the afternoon of April 30 you won’t be seeing a partial solar eclipse live. But you can watch online and you will be getting updates from news channels.

According to Space.com, you can see this solar event on the YouTube channel of the India-based  Gyaan ki gareebi Live .  It will begin broadcasting the eclipse at  1:45 p.m. EDT (1745 GMT).

Of course you know a solar eclipse happens when the moon’s orbit sends the sphere between the sun and earth. You can become more informed on this particular eclipse at Time and Date and at Time and Date’s Partial Solar eclipse coverage.

The partial solar eclipse is also the forerunner of a lunar eclipse happening May 15-16 in both hemispheres. Time and Date has a good map and timetable of the area covered.

In the Chicago area watch the lunar eclipse on May 15th from its very early onset at 8:32 p.m. through May 16 at 12:55 a.m. Chicago’s Adler Planetarium has a good description of what to expect.

For full moon observers, this is the Flower Moon. and yes, it coincides with the lunar eclipse. For more information visit the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

If that isn’t enough, May also hosts the peak of the Eta Aquarids. The meteorites peak with up to 50 meteorites per hour May 5-6 in 2022 although they have already started. They are named for their radiant (where they seem to emerge) at the constellation Aquarius.

Happy sky watching!

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Watch the sky this week!

NASA photo of a meteor shower
NASA photo of a meteor shower

Meteor shower. Full moon. Lunar eclipse. Oh my!

The mid-November sky is full of interesting phenomena to see if  you are patient.

First challenge: Watch for the Leonids, a November meteor shower from the Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle debris. The Leonids can be prolific but this year only about 10 to 15 meteors are expected even at its peak Nov. 16-17.

Best time will be early Wednesday morning just before dawn when the waxing gibbous moon, on its way to full moon phase, sets about 4:45 a.m.

Which brings us to the second challenge: a full moon coupled with a lunar eclipse. November’s full moon is the Beaver Moon which in 2021 reaches full phase at 3:59 a.m. Nov. 19 at the height of a nearly full lunar eclipse.

So enjoy its fullness the day before and day after (the moon appears full for three days) because we will also be experiencing the longest lasting lunar eclipse in 580 years.

That’s because the moon will be at its slowest orbital speed at the same time it will be at apogee, the farthest point from the Earth.

Its all about the Earth’s shadow on Nov. 19 when the moon’s position is just about directly opposite the Sun.

In the Midwest you can start to watch the eclipse just after midnight  but it won’t be as noticeable until an hour later.

At the peak of eclipse at 4:02:53 a.m. Eastern Time,  97% of the Moon will be in full shadow.

More about the Beaver Moon  The Old Farmer’s Almanac suggests looking for the full moon after sunset Nov. 18 before its hits peak illumination during the eclipse early Friday morning.  The Almanac has a moonrise and moonset calculator.

Full moons typically take their name from Indian and farming events and seasons. Beavers have been known to have laid up their stock for winter and done building their homes by mid November.

 

 

 

 

Mark geninids on cal for dec13-14

Early bird catches a partial solar eclipse Thursday

Lunar and solar eclipse (Photo courtesy of NASA)
Lunar and solar eclipse (Photo courtesy of NASA)

Folks in northern Canada can catch  the best part of June 10’s  eclipse event as the new moon’s orbit moves it across the sky to block the sun.

In the US, the best areas to see it are north and east such as in New York City where the eclipse magnitude will be 80 percent and last for more than an hour after sunrise. .

Chicago area residents will be able to see an eclipse, it just will be a partial one and not last long. Thus, the best way to catch it is after getting protective glasses or using an alternative viewing method, to look to the horizon when the sun appears.

That means watching beginning at 5:15 a.m. through 5:39 a.m. Compared to the north east including NYC’s high magnitude, Chicago’s magnitude will be 35 percent at 5:18 a.m.

Two good sites for information on this solar eclipse event are Time and Date and Space.

Lunar eclipse happenings

NASA photo of a lunar eclipse June 15, 2011. (Photo courtesy of NASA)
NASA photo of a lunar eclipse June 15, 2011. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

Look up the night of Jan 20 into morning of Jan 21. You won’t need a telescope or special glasses. It’s a “Supermoon,” “Wolfmoon,” “Bloodmoon. Ooh, it’s disappearing.

 

Eclipse Times

About midnight, CT, the full moon will have fully moved in its orbit between the earth and the sun. so it won’t be reflecting the sun’s rays. The total eclipse will last a long time – an hour.

The Adler Planetarium site lists Central Times for when it begins and happens as partial eclipse starting at 9:34 pm, and total eclipse from 10:41 to 11:43 pm, Jan. 20. Then watch as the moon emerges from behind the earth Jan.l 21.

In Universal Time the eclipse will last almost 3½ hours from the beginning of the partial phase at 3:34 UT until it ends at 6:51 UT. Totality lasts 63 minutes, from 4:41 to 5:44 UT.

 

Moon Names

So why “Supermoon?” “The moon’s orbit is not a perfect circle,” said Adler Director of Public Observing Michelle Nichols. “Sometimes it is closer to earth so it looks larger,” Nichols said. She noted that the closest it will come near the eclipse will be during the day of Jan. 21 at 1:59 p.m. She calls the appearance of the rising moon seeming to loom large, “an optical illusion.”

She suggested viewers use the thumb test. “Put an arm straight out and cover the moon with your thumb. Then, do it again later when the moon is over head. It will be the same size.”

“Bloodmoon” is a term describing the moon’s color during total eclipse. “Sometimes it looks brick red, sometimes grayish. The sunlight is reflecting at the edge of the earth. The earth has blotted out the blue of the sun so sometimes it could be reddish sometimes grayish. It also depends on how dusty the earth’s atmosphere is,” Nichols said.

“Wolfmoon” is a term for the first full moon of the year, acquired over the years similar to Harvest Moon and Hunter Moon. It also has other names such as Ice Moon according to Time and Date

which explains that people often named the full moons according to the seasons and the phenomena they associated with its time of year.

 

Where to Watch

View outside your abode. See it happening inside on a live stream at Time and Date Live which will be streaming the event on its site.

But to appreciate and enjoy the lunar eclipse with astronomers go over to the Adler for “Lunapalooza.”  The outside observing part is free. Inside events, adults $12, children $8 (members free) include seeing the new Adler show “Imagine the Moon” which charts how people considered the moon over the centuries. Lunar eclipse

 

More Sky and Eclipse Information

These sites have charts, photos and lots of good astronomy information: Time and Date, Earth and Sky, Sky and Telescope and Space.