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Lunar eclipse: How to spot the ‘blood moon’

 

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The total lunar eclipse will dazzle skywatchers this weekend.

The first eclipse of the year, interested parties can see the celestial event on May 15-16, depending on their time zone.

According to NASA, the phenomenon takes place roughly every 1.5 years.

‘BLOOD MOON’ TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE: WHAT TO KNOW

The agency said that the partial eclipse phase will begin over North America at 9:28 p.m. CT on May 15.

Totality will begin at 10:29 p.m. CT, concluding about midnight, and the partial phase will end at 12:56 a.m. CT on May 16.

The “blood moon” will be visible across the Americas, Europe and Africa, or anywhere the moon is visible above the horizon.

Total lunar eclipses occur when the Earth lines up between the moon and the sun, hiding the moon from the star’s light.

The planet casts a complete shadow over its sole natural satellite.

The only light that reaches the moon’s surface is from the edges of the Earth’s atmosphere and the air molecules from the Earth’s atmosphere scatter out most of the blue light.

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“It’s no surprise observers coined the ominous-sounding phrase ‘blood moon,’ but the effect is completely natural. During the eclipse, most visible-spectrum light from the sun is filtered out. Only the red and orange wavelengths reach the surface,” NASA explained.

The red glow makes the moon appear red.

One meaning of a blood moon is based on its dim, reddish hue during the total lunar eclipse.

A blood moon against the night sky in 2014
(Credit: NASA Ames Research Center/Brian Day)

The name “blood moon” is also sometimes used for a moon that appears reddish because of dust, smoke or haze in the sky.

In addition, it can be one of the full moons of autumn when the leaves are turning red.

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It was also known by Native American tribes as the “flower moon,” because this was the time of year when spring flowers appeared in abundance.

The eclipse can also be viewed on NASA’s YouTube channel.

 

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