UNA Planetarium Set to be Open for Total Lunar Eclipse

By  | May 13, 2022 | Filed under: News
Eclipses | Moon in Motion – Moon: NASA Science

Photo courtesy of NASA

  FLORENCE – A total lunar eclipse will occur on the night of May 15 that will be visible in its entirety from Florence. Lunar eclipses occur when the full moon passes into the shadow of the Earth. The result is the Moon slowly goes from a full Moon to a dark red color and back to completely full in a few hours.


There are several stages of lunar eclipses. The first stage is the penumbral stage, when from the point of view of an observer on the Moon, the Earth only blocks part of the Sun. The next stage is the partial-eclipse phase, during which only which parts of the Moon have light from the Sun completely blocked. The total eclipse stage occurs when the entire Moon is within the Earth’s shadow. After total eclipse, the sequence of events reverses is self, with a partial eclipse followed by a penumbral stage at the end. The penumbral stage tends to be subtle, with most observers perhaps only noticing the Moon appearing a bit dimmer.


The total eclipse stage is often called the “Blood Moon,” because the Moon then takes on a dark red hue. This is caused by red-light passing through the Earth’s atmosphere and hitting the Moon’s surface and reflecting back to Earth. Lunar eclipses were often thought to be harbingers of doom, heralding the death of a ruler or a coming disaster. The full Moon in May is also called the Flower Moon, so it will be a Flower Blood Moon.


As viewed from Alabama, the May 15 eclipse will begin with the penumbral stage at approximately 8:32 p.m. The partial eclipse will begin around 9:29 p.m. The total eclipse will begin at 10:29 p.m. The maximum eclipse for Florence will occur around 11:11 p.m. The total eclipse will end at approximately 10:54 p.m., and the second partial eclipse phase will end at 12:55 a.m., May 16.


No particular equipment is required to observe a lunar eclipse, although a telescope or binoculars will enhance the experience. The UNA Planetarium will have telescopes available for people to view the eclipse from 9 p.m., May 15, until 1 a.m. May 16, weather permitting.

Media Release/Ms. Michelle R. Eubanks
University Media and Public Relations

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