Saturday, December 2, 2023

Total lunar eclipse, Nov. 8, 2022


A total eclipse of the moon occurred this morning and was visible in the US, causing a “blood moon” in the sky just hours before sunrise.

Left: Reva-Steenbergen/iStockPhoto, Right: Voxitatis

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth comes directly between the sun and the moon, causing the moon to travel into the Earth’s shadow. The red color of the moon during a total eclipse is caused by a limited amount of sunlight reaching the Moon that has passed through Earth’s atmosphere, which is filled with dust.

The dust scatters the light by deflecting a small percentage of the rays, which then reach the moon’s surface, where red wavelengths are reflected toward Earth for human viewing. The more dust in the atmosphere, the more light rays from the sun bounce around, and the redder the moon appears.

Diagram of a total lunar eclipse

The most recent total lunar eclipse occurred on May 16, 2022. The next one will occur on March 14, 2025, and then again on September 7, 2025, and on March 3, 2026.

A hybrid solar eclipse will be visible from northwest Australia on April 20, 2023, and an annular solar eclipse will be visible from the western US, Central and South America on October 14, 2023. But then, another big total solar eclipse comes to the US, going as the 2017 eclipse did through Carbondale, Illinois, on April 8, 2024.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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