FOCUS: A total lunar eclipse delighted sky watchers on Sunday night

Published 3:51 pm Friday, May 20, 2022

‘Soon, we’ll be without the moon…’

A total lunar eclipse took place, starting Sunday night and lasting into early Monday, the first one visible from our region since 2018.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon enters the shadow of the earth cast by the sun.

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The eclipse began at about 10:59 p.m., when the moon began fading into darkness, far left, eventually reaching totality at 11:29. At this point, direct sunlight is blocked and moon is only lit by light from earth’s atmosphere, creating a reddish glow.

Totality continued until 12:54 a.m., nearly an hour and a half and the longest of its type to be seen in our area since 1989.

Following totality, the shadow of the earth began gradually moving away and the moon returned to its normal appearance at 2:10 a.m., seen at far right.

The next total lunar eclipse that can be seen in its entirety from our region will take place on March 14, 2025.

There will be another total lunar eclipse later this year, on Nov. 8, however it will begin in early morning and only partially visible, as sunrise will occur midway through it.

Upcoming astronomical events that can be seen from Lawrence County:

• July 13 – A supermoon, in which the full moon will be located on the opposite side of the earth from the sun and make its closest approach to our planet, appearing slightly larger and brighter than usual.

• July 19-27 – All of the planets which can be seen with the naked eye – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn — will appear in a row in the skies in the southeast just before dawn. The planets will form a diagonal line, beginning with Mercury lowest on the horizon, ascending to Saturn. In areas with low light pollution or for those with telescopes, observers may also be able to spot Uranus, appearing as faint pale green dot near Venus.

• The annual Perseids meteor shower, caused by remnant of the comet Swift-Tuttle that passed through earth’s orbit, will again take place from Aug. 11-13. Observers can, in some years, spot as many as 60 meteors an hour, radiating from the constellation Perseus, located in the northeastern sky after midnight.