Blood Moon - Total Lunar Eclipse visible in Texoma on Sunday night

Mostly clear sky conditions expected
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 5:45 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) -

Our first of two lunar eclipses that you’ll be able to see from Texoma in 2022 will be this Sunday. Also known as a Blood Moon, due to its reddish appearance. The Earth will be directly between the Sun and the Moon during the eclipse, casting a shadow that the Moon will pass through as it moves behind the Earth.

The eclipse will start at 8:32 pm Central, when the Moon will begin moving through Earth’s penumbra, or outer shadow. While still having the appearance of a full moon, it will look slightly darker as the Earth begins occluding sunlight from reaching the Moon. By 9:27 pm, the Moon will start moving into the Earth’s umbra, or inner shadow, as the partial eclipse begins. This is the stage when, from the Moon’s perspective, the Earth moves completely in front of the Sun and the Moon starts turning red. The Moon won’t turn red at once, instead transitioning from left to right as the Moon moves completely into Earth’s umbra. By 10:29 pm, the entirety of the Moon will have orbited behind the Earth, causing the red tint that we associate with a lunar eclipse, beginning the total lunar eclipse. At 11:11 pm, the Moon will reach its maximum point in the eclipse, and by 11:53 pm the total eclipse will come to an end. Following this, the Moon will transition out of the Earth’s umbra and back into its penumbra, as the reddish shadow will retreat across the surface of the Moon from left to right. At 12:55 am early Monday morning, the partial eclipse will come to an end, and by 1:50 am, the lunar eclipse comes to an end with the Moon exiting the Earth’s penumbra as the Moon returns to it’s bright, white, and classic full moon appearance.

Timeline of the Lunar eclipse on Sunday night
Timeline of the Lunar eclipse on Sunday night(KSWO)

Current forecasts show that Sunday night looks to be mostly clear, so nearly perfect viewing conditions if you plan on staying up to witness this celestial event. The Moon will rise in the east-southeast and move across the southern sky, so be sure to look in that direction to see it.

The explanation for the Moon’s reddish hue during a total Lunar eclipse actually lies in Earth’s atmosphere. While the Earth will completely cover the Sun from the Moon’s perspective, rays of sunlight passing through Earth’s atmosphere will wrap around the Earth and shine on the Moon. These rays exit Earth’s atmosphere as a deep reddish color due to the scattering of light. As light rays from the Sun shine through the layers of Earth’s atmosphere, they disturb molecules within the atmosphere, causing the rays to scatter. The angle of the light rays hitting the Earth’s atmosphere and how much of the atmosphere these rays pass through can determine the color of the sky we see. Higher energy rays with shorter wave lengths, like those that produce the colors blue and purple on the light spectrum, scatter more than lower energy rays with longer wavelengths, like the those that produce the colors orange and red on the light spectrum. This is the reason why the sky is blue when the sun is overhead and appears red and orange when the sun is lower in the sky around sunrise and sunset, as the light rays have more atmosphere to travel through and therefore scatter more, leaving only the lower-energy wavelengths. Since the light rays that reach the Moon during a total lunar eclipse have to wrap around the Earth and pass through a lot of its atmosphere, it creates huge amounts of scattering, leaving the rays that reach the Moon a deep color of red. This is what causes the Blood Moon appearance, and if you want to think about it in a different way, the Moon’s appearance during a lunar eclipse is a culmination of every single sunrise and sunset across the Earth.

The next, and final, lunar eclipse we will see this year in Texoma will be during the early morning hours of Tuesday, November 8th just a couple hours before sunrise.

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