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There’s a Total Lunar Eclipse This Weekend – Here Is All You Need To Know

The first eclipse season of 2022 will reach its peak this weekend. The lunar eclipse will begin on Sunday night and end on Monday morning.

The key time is totality and will clock in at 1 hour, 24 minutes, and 53 seconds in duration. Totality runs from 3:29 UT/11:29 PM EDT to 4:54 UT/12:54 PM EDT, making it the 5th longest lunar eclipse for the first quarter of the 21st century.

It can be seen easily without any optical equipment, but the view can be enhanced through a small telescope or binoculars. For photographs, it is advised to shoot in manual mode and be ready to dial down from a fast 1/100th of a second during the partial phases, to a slow 1 – 4″ exposure during totality.

There are some interesting activities that can be done during the eclipse. One is to time when certain lunar craters enter the umbra, to refine the established diameter of the Earth’s shadow. Another is to attempt to measure your longitude during an eclipse.

This time, there is a probability that Herculid meteor outburst courtesy of asteroid 2006 GY2 may be active. Hence, there can be some meteor activity witnessed too.

Another novel observation will be to nab the elusive selenelion or see the totally eclipsed Moon and rising Sun above the horizon at the same time. This works because the umbra of the Earth is bigger than the Moon, and the Earth’s atmosphere refracts light from both.

To see the view perfectly, you will need to be at some height and have a clear sky.  The best regions to try this during Sunday night/Monday morning’s eclipse are between the U2-U3 contact zones. These swaths cover western Canada at sunset, and Iceland, the United Kingdom, France, and central Africa at dawn.

The event will be covered by the Virtual Telescope Project through a live webcast of the total lunar eclipse hosted by astronomer Gianluca Masi starting on May 15 at 2:15 UT/10:15 PM EDT.