After we witnessed the first solar eclipse of 2022 in April, May is set to delight us with the phenomena’s close cousin — the Lunar Eclipse! Keep reading to understand the dos and don’ts associated with this cosmic event.

What is a Lunar Eclipse?

A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth falls between the Sun and the Moon. Since the moon only reflects what light falls on it, the Earth obscures all or part of the light falling on the space-rock from the Sun. Therefore, only the illuminated part of the moon becomes visible from the Earth during the lunar eclipse.

When is it?

According to timeanddate.com, the eclipse will start at 7:02 am India time and end at 12:20 pm on May 16, Monday (1:32 am to 6:50 am, UTC). The totality of the lunar eclipse (the period when the moon is fully obscured by the Earth) will last for 1 hour and 25 minutes from 8:59 am to 10:23 am (3:29 am to 4:53 am, UTC)

Will it be visible in India?

Unfortunately, the lunar eclipse will not be visible in India as the moon will be below the horizon during the event, similar to the recent partial solar eclipse. However, it will be visible fully or partially in parts of South and West Europe, South and West Asia, Africa, much of North America, South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean and Antarctica.

Where can I watch it from India?

A live-stream of the event will be available on the timeanddate.com’s Youtube channel during the eclipse. NASA will also be live-streaming the event on their social media platforms.

What will the moon look like?

From areas that will be able to view the eclipse, the full moon will appear to be stained a copper-red colour. This phenomenon is popularly called the ‘Blood Moon’ and happens during a total lunar eclipse.

In a total lunar eclipse, light from the sun interferes with the Earth’s atmosphere on its way to the moon which changes some of its properties. This ‘modified light’ gives the moon its orange-red hue when viewed.

How can I take pictures of the eclipse?

An eclipse can be watched from anywhere that offers a clear view of the sky. Use binoculars to observe the nuances in colour and take the moon in its full glory. If you want to take pictures or videos of the event, using longer exposures with the camera propped on a tripod helps.

A Blood Moon (L R Shankar/TOI, BCCL CHENNAI)

A blood moon

(L R Shankar/TOI, BCCL CHENNAI)

What safety measures do I need to take?

Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are completely safe to be viewed with the naked eye. Thus, no extra protection has to be taken.

Will an eclipse change the weather?

Lunar eclipses don’t have a noticeable change in the weather, unlike their solar counterparts — which sometimes have significant effects on weather and wind conditions.

When is the next lunar eclipse?

The next lunar eclipse will take place on November 8 this year, and will be visible in India for a small portion during the end phase of the event.

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