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Don’t miss the total lunar eclipse this Sunday

Published: May. 13, 2022 at 4:11 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Look to the night sky around 8:29 on Sunday, May 15, 2022 and you’ll catch the beginning of a lunar eclipse.

This is when the moon, sun and earth align--with the moon passing through the earth’s shadow over the course of a couple of hours.

“Total eclipses are not as common. So, this is special,” says Paul McFarlane, Fleischmann Planetarium Director. “When we get a chance to see something like this it is always a treat,” he says.

Unlike a solar eclipse, the lunar eclipse can be seen with the naked eye.

Here in Northern Nevada the moon will rise just before 8:00 in the evening. The eclipse begins about thirty minutes after that.

As it passes through the earth’s shadow, the moon will change color. It’s commonly called a “blood moon” and it has to do with the earth’s atmosphere.

“As the light of the sun curves around our planet and passes through our atmosphere the blue shorter wave lengths, they are scattered,” says McFarlane. “But the red longer wave lengths are refracted or bent inward and projected on to the moon. So you get this wonderful coppery-like effect or a blood moon,” he says.

The red tinge will disappear as the moon begins to travel outside the earth’s shadow and the lunar eclipse starts to come to an end at about 10:53 Sunday night. Because the moon is completely covered in shadow, brighter stars and planets like Uranus and Neptune will be easier to see.

While a telescope and binoculars may help see detail, they are not necessary to enjoy the lunar eclipse.

The lunar eclipse is called a leisurely event. That’s because it will take about three hours to complete. Which means Northern Nevadans will be able to take in some phase of this event, sometime Sunday night.

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