A total lunar eclipse is a magical event to witness and the next chance to view one comes on the night of Jan. 20-21 with all of North America having a ringside seat for the entire show.
Backyard Astronomer Gary Boyle explained an eclipse is a result of the perfect lineup of the sun, earth and moon. This does not occur every month as the moon has a slight incline in its orbit often misses earth’s shadow.
In contrast to a solar eclipse where the moon blocks the sun and special filters are a must for safety reasons, a lunar eclipse is simply the full moon sliding into our planet’s shadow. During totality the lunar surface turns a copper orange due to sunlight refracting or passing through the atmosphere much like those hot summer sunsets on Earth.
If you were on the moon, you would see an orange ring around the Earth. From this vantage point you would see every sunset on the left side of the Earth along with every sunrise on the right side at the same time.
The next total lunar eclipse seen from Canadian soil will take place on May 16, 2022 where the east and central part of the country are favoured to see the entire eclipse.
Following are the optimum times for viewing the lunar eclipse (all times are local):
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 11:34 p.m. (Jan. 20) The moon begins to enter the shadow.
Total lunar eclipse begins: 12:41 a.m. (Jan. 21)
Greatest eclipse: 1:12 a.m. (Jan. 21)
Total lunar eclipse ends: 1:43 a.m. (Jan. 21)
Partial umbral eclipse ends: 2:51 a.m. (Jan. 21) The moon completely exits the shadow.
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 12:03 a.m. (Jan. 21) The moon begins to enter the shadow.
Total lunar eclipse begins: 1:11 a.m. (Jan. 21)
Greatest eclipse: 1:42 a.m. (Jan. 21)
Total lunar eclipse ends: 2:13 a.m. (Jan. 21)
Partial umbral eclipse ends: 3:20 a.m. (Jan. 21) The moon completely exits the shadow.