Guide to Enjoying the Total Lunar Eclipse from Spain

Before dawn on Monday 16 May, our satellite will be tinted red and this Blood Moon can be seen from across Spain: the totality phase will begin at 05:29 and end at 06:54 (Peninsular Time). it is We’re seeing the first total eclipse in Spain since July 2018And there won’t be another one until October 2023, so don’t miss out.

early morning

The total lunar eclipse will occur in the early hours of Monday, May 16. It will be visible from America, Africa and Western Europe. The Phase of Enlightenment will be completely visible from all over Spain.

The penumbral eclipse, when our satellite enters the twilight zone created by our planet, will begin at 03:29 (Peninsular Time) and First contact with shadow 04.25 . will be on,

The most interesting phase of the eclipse, of totality, when the Moon is completely obscured, will begin at 05:29 and end at 06:54 (maximum at 06:11). The last shadow contact will occur at 0711, but the Moon will set at 0702 (and the Sun will rise almost simultaneously), so the final phase of the eclipse will not be visible.

These hours, which we give here for Madrid, Slightly different for different parts of Spain, Corresponding hours for all provinces can be found on the website of the National Astronomical Observatory.

visibility from spain
Visibility of the May 16 eclipse from Spain.rb

In the peninsular northeast and in the Balearic Islands, it will not be possible to see the full phase of totality, as the Moon will set earlier. But in the rest of the peninsula, the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla the phase of totality will be observed in its entirety. Similar to what will happen in Madrid, in these regions only the final phase of the eclipse will remain undiscovered, as the Moon will set as soon as it leaves Earth’s shadow.

In the attached graph, curves P1 (red) and P2 (blue) delimit the region of the world where the eclipse is completely visible (including penumbra phases), to the right of curve P2 (blue), the partial portion is completely The shadow phase to the right of O2 (blue) is not fully visible. Between T2 (blue) and T1 (blue), Eclipse is seen when the moon goes to bed, And the stage of totality is not completely visible. To the right of P1 (blue) and to the left of P2 (red), no phase of the eclipse is visible.

Visibility of the May 16 eclipse.
Visibility of the May 16 eclipse.imcce/obs. from Paris

how to watch eclipse

In order not to miss the most spectacular phase, of totality, with the Moon tinted in deep red, it is advisable to find our satellite around 05:00 a.m., when it is already descending to the west. Will happen.

Since the eclipse will be at a lower altitude as the Moon loses altitude, it is advisable to position yourself at a place from where the western horizon can be seen without any obstruction, i.e., Without buildings or trees or any other tall object that obstructs our vision, That way, from anywhere in Spain, we’ll have more than an hour to enjoy the Blood Moon (from 05:29 to 06:54, but from the peninsula and the north-east of the Balearic Islands we can see it in bed) Will see you go. A little earlier).

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During the eclipse, we can also look to the east-southeast because the four planets will be visible at this time, from lowest to highest altitude: Venus and Jupiter (brightest), Mars and Saturn (brightest). When the full moon takes on a peculiar copper shadow, the contrast of the brightness of these planets with the background of the sky will be emphasized, which will facilitate their observation.

Lunar eclipses can be observed with the naked eye and, unlike solar eclipses, they present absolutely no danger. if you have binoculars or a small telescopeThe show will be even more impressive: We will be able to appreciate the details of lunar geography as the shadow moves across its surface.

Why are there so few eclipses?

A lunar eclipse always occurs when the Moon is on the opposite side of the Sun during the full moon phase (visible all night), that is, when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are perfectly aligned.

The Moon’s orbit and the Sun-Earth system.

Wonder why eclipses don’t happen every month. This is because the plane of the Moon’s orbit around the Earth is inclined five degrees from the plane of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Thus, due to the inclination of the Moon’s orbit, and an almost perfect alignment of all three as an eclipse is required. stars (sun, earth and moon), Eclipses are rare throughout the year, In practice, the annual number of eclipses is between four and seven, including those of the Sun and the Moon. In many cases, lunar eclipses are partial or partial.

Eclipses are never alone. A solar eclipse always occurs about two weeks before or after each lunar eclipse. That is, eclipses usually occur in pairs and even in three. The May 16 lunar eclipse was preceded by a partial solar eclipse that occurred on April 30 and was visible from the Pacific, Antarctic coast and part of southern South America (it was not visible from Spain).

where does copper light come from

The red-orange hue of the eclipsed Moon comes from sunlight that is filtered and scattered by Earth’s atmosphere around our planet’s shadow. In fact, the copper light that bathes the eclipsed Moon is the light of all sunsets and sunrises together in the ring of the globe that separates day from night.

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When the atmosphere is very transparent, Eclipses are especially bright and colorful, When the atmosphere contains large amounts of dust and aerosols from volcanic eruptions, eclipses are darker. Thus, the brightness of a fully eclipsed Moon can vary greatly from one eclipse to another, these changes are measured on the Danzen scale which ranges from 0 (very dark eclipse) to 5 (least dark eclipse). varies.

Raphael graduate He is the Director of the National Astronomical Observatory (IGN) and an academic of the Royal Academy of Doctors of Spain.

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