(5.16) Weather permitting, skywatchers here in Providence will be treated to a total lunar eclipse starting late Sunday night. NASA has all the details:
The eastern half of the United States and all of South America will have the opportunity to see every stage of the lunar eclipse. Totality will begin at 11:29 a.m. EDT on May 15 (3:12 UTC on May 16) and will be visible in much of Africa, western Europe, Central and South America, and most of North America.
From NASA astronomer Alphonse Sterling: “You don’t have to work too hard to find a good vantage point. Just go outside!”
What can viewers expect to see? As Earth’s shadow deepens on the face of the Moon, it will darken to a ruddy, red color, with its intensity depending on atmospheric interference.
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.
This full Moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Flower Moon because this was the time of year when spring flowers appeared in abundance.
If the weather in your area does not cooperate, NASA will be live-streaming the action from some luckier location on the globe.
Lunar eclipse begins 10:27pm, Sunday, May 15, Providence
(Original image courtesy of NASA. Arrow added for clarity.)