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How to best watch the lunar eclipse in the US and Canada

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The Cosmic Companion
2021-05-25 07:53:26
thenextweb.com

On May 26, a total lunar eclipse will be visible in the pre-dawn sky over much of North America. Skygazers will see the Moon pass completely into the shadow of Earth. As this happens, our familiar planetary companion will grow continually redder, before becoming extremely (yet, not entirely) dark.

The lunar eclipse on May 26 should be a delight for amateur astronomers (especially in the western United States), or casual stargazers willing to venture outside late at night.

“[C]ertain skywatchers will be able to catch a glimpse of a rare lunar trifecta: a ‘super blood moon.’ Not only will this be the biggest and brightest full moon of the year, it coincides with a total lunar eclipse, where the Moon will appear red for approximately fifteen minutes,” NASA officials describe.

The degree to which the Moon will be eclipsed, and the time at which it does so will differ, depending on the location from which the event is seen.

This eclipse is classified as a blood moon, due to the deep, crimson hue the Moon will display. Taking place during spring in the Northern Hemisphere, this eclipse is also considered a flower moon.

This event will also mark a supermoon — when the full Moon is near its closest approach to Earth. The Moon travels around the Earth at a distance ranging from 363,300 to 405,500 kilometers (226,000 and 253,000 miles) from our home planet. About once a year, this closest approach (or perigee) aligns with a full Moon. This alignment produces a supermoon, at which point the Moon can appear to be 14 percent larger, and 30 percent brighter, than normal.

How to watch it

No special equipment of training is needed to view this celestial display, but viewers will need to know when to head out for observations. Viewers in the western half of the United States (and western Canada) will get prime views of the lunar eclipse on May 26. People living east of the Mississippi River will see a partial eclipse of our nearest neighbor in space.

In Tucson, the eclipse will begin about 1:45 am, and will peak at 4:18. The display will come to an end when the Moon sets at 5:27. Times for Pacific coast viewers are similar. Those living further east will see just a short, partial eclipse in the pre-dawn sky — Indianapolis sees about 90 minutes of the display, while people in New York City will witness just 45 minutes of the eclipse. Viewers can check local eclipse times on Time and Date.

Credit: The Planetary Society