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On the night of May 15-16, the attention of millions of people will be drawn skyward, where a mottled, coppery globe — the moon — will be completely immersed in the long, tapering cone of shadow cast into space by our planet. If the weather is clear, skywatchers across most of the Americas, Europe, and Africa will have a view of one of nature’s most beautiful spectacles: a total eclipse of the moon. Unlike a total eclipse of the sun, which often requires a long journey to the path of totality, eclipses of the moon can usually be observed from your own backyard. The passage of the full moon through Earth’s shadow is equally visible from all places within the hemisphere where the moon is above the horizon. The totality phase of the upcoming total lunar eclipse of May 2022 will be visible across much of North America, all of South America, Central, and Western Europe, and much of Africa (except the extreme eastern part), giving it a potential viewing audience of 2.7 billion people!

It’s simple to view this celestial spectacle. Unlike a solar eclipse, which necessitates special viewing precautions to prevent eye damage, a lunar eclipse is perfectly safe to watch. All you’ll need are your eyes, but binoculars or a telescope will give you a much nicer view.

Shadow play:

The eclipse begins when the moon enters the penumbra, or faint outer portion of Earth’s shadow, about an hour before it begins moving into the umbra, Earth’s dark inner shadow. The penumbra, however, is all but invisible to the eye until the moon becomes deeply immersed in it. Sharp-eyed viewers may get their first glimpse of the penumbra as a faint “smudge” on the left part of the moon’s disk at or around 10:10 p.m. EDT on May 15 (0210 GMT on May 16), as long as the moon is above the horizon.

The Moonrise:

While viewers in much of the eastern and central U.S. and Canada will be able to see the moon enter the umbra, those in western North America, to the left of a line running from roughly San Diego; to Salt Lake City; to Billings, Montana, to The Pas, Manitoba, will see the moon rise already in eclipse.

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Alice is the Chief Editor with relevant experience of three years, Alice has founded Galaxy Reporters. She has a keen interest in the field of science. She is the pillar behind the in-depth coverages of Science news. She has written several papers and high-level documentation.

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