Everything You Need to Know for the May 26th Morning Lunar Eclipse

Diana Hannikainen, Observing Editor, Sky & Telescope
+1 617-500-6793 x22100, [email protected]

Gary Seronik, Consulting Editor, Sky & Telescope
[email protected]

Rick Fienberg, Press Officer, American Astronomical Society
+1 202-328-2010 x116, [email protected]

Note to Editors/Producers: This launch is accompanied by high-quality graphics; see the finish of this launch for the photos and hyperlinks to obtain.

No one has seen a complete lunar eclipse since January 20–21, 2019, however the drought is lastly ending. Viewers in the western half of North America, western South America, East Asia, and Australia will see the Moon darken and switch a reddish hue on the morning of May 26th. Much of North America will see at the very least a few of the penumbral phases, during which the Moon seems nearly imperceptibly shadowed. But the Moon will likely be low in the sky — for any probability of catching a glimpse of the occasion you’ll want to discover an open view to the southwest.

For the japanese U.S. and Canada, the Moon units (and the Sun rises) as the early phases of the eclipse get underway. Midwesterners are luckier and would possibly catch a peek of the setting Moon with about half of its disk immersed in Earth’s darkish, interior shadow. The western a part of the continent will see the full eclipse, however you’ll have to rise up early (or keep up actually, actually late). For these in Hawai‘i, you’ll be in for a deal with in case your skies are clear: You’ll get to witness the entire occasion, from begin to end.

Australia and East Asia also needs to get good views of the eclipse, since the Moon rises as the early phases of the eclipse get underway. 

See the desk beneath and diagrams at the finish for instances of key occasions throughout May 26th’s eclipse. The phases of the eclipse happen concurrently for everybody who can see the Moon, however the precise clock instances rely in your time zone:

Penumbra first seen 8:47 4:47 a.m. 3:47 a.m. 2:47 a.m. 1:47 a.m. 12:47 am. *10:47 p.m.
Partial eclipse begins 9:45 5:45 a.m. 4:45 a.m. 3:45 a.m. 2:45 a.m. 1:45 a.m. *11:45 p.m.
Total eclipse begins 11:11 _____ _____ 5:11 a.m. 4:11 a.m. 3:11 a.m. 1:11 a.m.
Mid-eclipse 11:19 _____ _____ 5:19 a.m. 4:19 a.m. 3:19 a.m. 1:19 a.m.
Total eclipse ends 11:27 _____ _____ 5:27 a.m. 4:27 a.m. 3:27 a.m. 1:27 a.m.
Partial eclipse ends 12:53 _____ _____ _____ 5:53 a.m. 4:53 a.m. 2:53 a.m.
Penumbra final seen 13:50 _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ 3:50 a.m.
*May twenty fifth. Eclipse part instances are proven for the contiguous U.S. time zones in addition to Alaska (Alaska Daylight Time / AKDT) and Hawai‘i (Hawai‘i-Aleutian Standard Time / HAST).

“If you miss this eclipse, don’t despair — the night of November 18–19 presents another lunar eclipse,” says Diana Hannikainen (pronounced HUHN-ih-KY-nen), observing editor at Sky & Telescope. “Technically, the November event will be partial, but only the thinnest sliver of the Moon’s disk will remain outside the umbra, so for all intents and purposes it’ll be very much like a total eclipse.”

What to Look For

Totality is predicted to final for quarter-hour and 52 seconds, so it’s brief so far as lunar eclipses go. Mid-eclipse May 26th (11:19 Universal Time) occurs a mere 9½ hours after the Moon reaches perigee, the level in its orbit when it’s closest to Earth. The Moon will seem round 8% bigger than it does when it’s at apogee (farthest from Earth in its orbit), however seemingly solely devoted Moon watchers will discover this.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth, and a full Moon type a near-perfect lineup in space, in what is called syzygy. The Moon regularly glides into Earth’s shadow, till the complete lunar disk turns from silvery grey to an eerie dim orange or red. Then occasions unfold in reverse order, till the Moon returns to full brilliance. The entire course of for the May 26th eclipse will take a contact greater than 5 hours.

“You only need your eyes to see the drama unfold, but if you have binoculars or a backyard telescope, they’ll give a much-enhanced view,” says Hannikainen.

The occasions that occur throughout a complete lunar eclipse are extra complicated and attention-grabbing than many individuals understand. The occasion has 5 phases, every with various things to watch.

(1) The Moon’s forefront enters the pale outer fringe of Earth’s shadow: the penumbra. You in all probability received’t discover something till the Moon is about midway throughout the penumbra.

Watch for a slight darkening on the Moon’s lower-left aspect as seen from North America. The penumbral shading turns into stronger as the Moon strikes deeper in.

The penumbra is the area the place an astronaut standing on the Moon would see Earth overlaying solely a part of the Sun’s face.

(2) The Moon’s forefront enters the umbra, the cone of Earth’s shadow inside which the Sun’s utterly hidden. You ought to discover a dramatic darkening on the forefront of the lunar disk. With a telescope, you possibly can watch the fringe of the umbra slowly engulfing one lunar function after one other, as the complete sky begins to develop darker.

(3)  The trailing fringe of the Moon slips into the umbra for the starting of complete eclipse. But the Moon will not black out utterly: it is positive to glow some shade of intense orange or red.

Why is that this? The Earth’s environment scatters and bends (refracts) daylight that skims its edges, diverting a few of it onto the eclipsed Moon. It’s the identical impact that occurs at sundown.  If you have been on the Moon throughout a lunar eclipse, you’d see the Sun hidden by a darkish Earth rimmed with the reddish gentle of all the sunrises and sunsets ringing the world at that second.

The red umbral glow may be fairly completely different from one eclipse to the subsequent. Two predominant elements have an effect on its brightness and hue. The first is just how deeply the Moon goes into the umbra because it passes by way of; the middle of the umbra is darker than its edges. The different issue is the state of Earth’s environment. If a significant volcanic eruption has lately polluted the stratosphere with skinny world haze, a lunar eclipse may be darkish red, ashen brown, or often nearly black.

In addition, blue gentle is refracted by way of Earth’s clear, ozone-rich higher environment above the thicker layers that produce the red sunrise-sunset colours. This ozone-blue gentle tints the Moon additionally, particularly close to the umbra’s edge. You’ll want binoculars or a telescope to see this impact.

(4) As the Moon continues transferring alongside its orbit, occasions replay in reverse order. The Moon’s edge re-emerges into daylight, ending totality and starting a partial eclipse once more.

(5) When all of the Moon escapes the umbra, solely the final, penumbral shading is left. Some time later, nothing uncommon stays.

Read extra on this eclipse in the May 2021 subject of Sky & Telescope and on S&T‘s web site: Dawn Delight: Catch the Total Lunar Eclipse on May 26th .

Sky & Telescope is making the illustrations beneath out there to editors and producers. Permission is granted for nonexclusive use in print and broadcast media, so long as applicable credit (as famous) are included. Web publication should embrace a hyperlink to skyandtelescope.org.

Lunar Eclipse Phases May 26
Events for the complete lunar eclipse on the morning of May 26, 2021. This model is labeled for Universal Time. Please refer to the desk above for corresponding instances in numerous time zones. Due to the Moon’s off-center path by way of Earth’s umbra, the northern half of its disk ought to look barely brighter throughout totality than the southern half. Click here or on the picture for a higher-resolution model.
Leah Tiscione / Sky & Telescope; Source: USNO
Eclipse coverage map
The map reveals areas worldwide from which the May 26th complete lunar eclipse is seen, climate allowing. Because an eclipsed Moon is at all times full, the Moon units (or rises) at nearly the identical time as the Sun rises (or units) on the reverse horizon. For North America, views enhance farther west. Click here or on the picture for a higher-resolution model.
Leah Tiscione / Sky & Telescope; Source: USNO
Umbra and Penumbra
If Earth had no environment, the Moon would look utterly black throughout a complete lunar eclipse. However, slightly red-hued daylight refracts by way of the environment and into Earth’s umbra, coloring the lunar disk throughout totality. (Not proven to scale!) Click here or on the picture for a higher-resolution model.
Sky & Telescope illustration
Lunar Eclipse
Sky & Telescope Consulting Editor Gary Seronik captured this triptych portrait of the January 2019 complete lunar eclipse. Click here or on the picture for a higher-resolution model.
Gary Seronik

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