What is a total moon eclipse? Explain the meaning of the Blood Moon and what it means

A BLOOD Moon will appear over the weekend – but what is it?

Here is a guide to the incredible space phenomenon, known as a total moon eclipse.


Total lunar eclipse makes the Moon redCredit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio

What is a moon eclipse? When is it the next?

The Earth revolves around its Sun and the Moon rotates around it.

Sometimes All three can work togetherBy placing the Earth between the Sun & Moon in a straight line,

It means the Moon is in the darkest part of Earth’s shadow – the “umbra”.

It is impossible for sunlight to directly reach the Moon because of the arrangement of the three objects.

However, some sunlight is refracted by Earth’s atmosphere, making the Moon appear reddish – hence the name “Blood Moon”.

Lunar eclipses are usually only for a few minutes and can be seen from anywhere on Earth’s night side.

It’s possible to see lunar eclipses even without protection because they are usually quite dim.

There are three types:

  • Total lunar eclipse – This is where the Moon turns deep red, receiving only light that’s passed through Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Penumbral lunar eclipse – This is when the Sun, Moon and Earth fail to form a perfect straight line, so the Moon only travels through the outer part of Earth’s shadow. This means that the Moon’s skin is partially darkened.
  • Partial lunar eclipse – This is when part of the Moon travels through Earth’s full shadow, which results in part of the Moon being darkened.

The next total lunar Eclipse will be on May 16, 2022. But it will begin for Americans on Sunday May 15.

Can you see the May 16-2022 lunar eclipse in the UK or the US?

The UK and the US will see the total lunar eclipse.

It will indeed appear across most of North America, South America and some parts of Europe, Africa.

Americans living on the East Coast will have best chances to see the eclipse. However, the totality of the eclipse will be visible throughout the USA.

Nasa has created a visibility map that you can see at the bottom of this article.

What time is it?

The Moon will enter the Earth’s shadow in the UK at 2.30am on May 16.

At 4.30am, the total eclipse will be visible.

It will finally come to an end at 7.50am – but the eclipse will have stopped being visible about two-and-a-half hours before then, as the Moon sets below the horizon at 5.10am.

The Moon will be covered by the Earth’s shadow at 10.28 Eastern Time on May 15, for Americans.

The total eclipse will then begin at 11.29pm that same day.

The eclipse’s peak will occur at 12.11am on May 16.

The totality will last until 12 :53 am.

Lunar eclipse dates

Here are the best Blood Moons to look out for up until 2030, according to Nasa:

  • Total Lunar Eclipse – May 16, 2022
  • Total Lunar Eclipse – November 8, 2022
  • Penumbral Lunar Eclipse – May 5, 2023
  • Partial Lunar Eclipse – October 28, 2023
  • Penumbral Lunar Eclipse – March 25, 2024
  • Partial Lunar Eclipse – September 18, 2024
  • Total Lunar Eclipse – March 14, 2025
  • Total Lunar Eclipse – September 7, 2025
  • Total Lunar Eclipse – March 3, 2026
  • Partial Lunar Eclipse – August 28, 2026
  • Penumbral Lunar Eclipse – February 20, 2027
  • Penumbral Lunar Eclipse – July 18, 2027
  • Penumbral Lunar Eclipse – August 17, 2027
  • Partial Lunar Eclipse – January 12, 2028
  • Partial Lunar Eclipse – July 6, 2028
  • Total Lunar Eclipse – December 31, 2028
  • Total Lunar Eclipse – June 26, 2029
  • Total Lunar Eclipse – December 20, 2029
  • Partial Lunar Eclipse – June 15, 2030
  • Penumbral Lunar Eclipse – December 9, 2030

Super moons will not be designated for the 2025, 2026 and 2028 total lunar eclipses.

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In 2023 and 2024, there are no total lunar eclipses.

The same applies to 2027.

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