A total lunar eclipse is a magical event to witness and our next chance comes on the night of January 20/21 with all of North America having a ring side seat for the entire show. An eclipse is a result of the perfect lineup of the sun, earth and moon. This does not occur every month as our 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 our 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.
Here is the schedule for local times in your time zone:
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 10:34 p.m. (January 20) The moon begins to enter the shadow.
Total lunar eclipse begins: 11:41 p.m. (January 20).
Greatest eclipse: 12:12 a.m. (January 21).
Total lunar eclipse ends: 12:43 a.m. (January 21).
Partial umbral eclipse ends: 1:51 a.m. (January 21)The moon completely exits the shadow.
Known as “The Backyard Astronomer”, Gary Boyle is an astronomy educator, guest speaker and monthly columnist for the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. He has been interviewed on more than 50 Canadian radio stations and local Ottawa TV. He is now honoured with renaming of Asteroid (22406) Garyboyle. Follow him on Twitter: @astroeducator or his website: www.wondersofastronomy.com