The next as well as the first lunar eclipse of 2021 will occur on Wednesday, May 26 which will be coinciding with the full flower moon. Okay, flower moon for the people living in the northern hemisphere and beaver moon for the people living in the southern hemisphere.
Apart from that, this eclipse will be a total lunar eclipse of the moon. It will be visible from some places, and from some, it won’t. WHY? Well, don’t worry, we will talk about this in the later section.
But, before going ahead, let me give a short and crisp review of the definition of the lunar eclipse and, of course, its type too. I mean, I just want you to know that why this eclipse of the moon is a total lunar eclipse, why not the partial or penumbral lunar eclipse!
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Lunar Eclipse Definition
A lunar eclipse will occur when these two principal criteria are fulfilled.
- First, only on a full moon day, a lunar eclipse can occur. Thankfully, May 26 is a full moon day. So, we are safe here.
- Second, a lunar eclipse will occur when the earth comes between the moon and the sun. In other words, an eclipse of the moon occurs when the earth’s shadow partially or completely blocks the sunlight from falling on the surface of the moon.
In fact, the second criteria i.e the earth’s shadow plays a decisive role in the fact that whether the eclipse of the moon is total, partial, or, the penumbral one.
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Game of Shadows
For starters, a shadow can be divided into three parts i.e Umbra, Penumbra, and Autumbra. But because of the demand for the topic, right now we are only interested in the first two. (Refer to the above image for proper understanding).
An umbra is the innermost part of the shadow, where the light source(sunlight) is completely blocked by the opaque body (earth). In layman, you can say that the umbra is nothing but the darkest part of the shadow.
Conversely, a penumbra is the outer part of the shadow, where the light source is not blocked but only obscured by the opaque body. In layman, you can say that the penumbra is nothing but the lightest part of the shadow.
Types of Lunar Eclipse
Taking consideration as per the game of shadows, there are generally three types of lunar eclipse. These are penumbral lunar eclipse, total lunar eclipse, and partial lunar eclipse. (Refer to the above image for proper understanding).
- A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the earth’s penumbra.
- Similarly, a total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon completely passes through the earth’s umbra.
- A partial lunar eclipse occurs when the moon partially passes through the earth’s umbra.
I hope now you know why May 26 lunar eclipse is a total lunar eclipse. Because during the first lunar eclipse of 2021, the moon will completely pass through the earth’s umbra i.e the darkest part of the earth’s shadow.
When and Where to See Next Total Lunar Eclipse of 2021?
Just because of the fact that the earth is round when half of the planet is living in the darkness, at the same time, the other half is enjoying the daylight.
Therefore, as a result of the earth’s curvature, of course, the earth’s tilt, this eclipse of the moon will be visible only from some specific countries.
Visibility of Total Lunar Eclipse on May 26, 2021
The visibility of the total lunar eclipse of 26, May 2021 will solely depend on the fact that where on the earth you reside. (Refer to the above image for proper understanding).
The May 26 total lunar eclipse will be visible from much of southeast Asia, all of Australia, Oceania, Central, and South America, Mexico, all of Hawaii, and Canada.
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Timing of Total Lunar Eclipse of 26 May 2021
According to the EarthSky, On Wednesday, 26 May, the partial umbral eclipse will begin at 9:45 UTC. After that, the total eclipse of the moon will start at 11:11 UTC following the greatest Eclipse at 11:19 UTC which will make the moon look bloody red. That’s why this eclipse of the moon will also be called the blood moon.
Finally, the total lunar eclipse of 2021 will end at 11:26 UTC following the end of the partial umbral lunar eclipse of the moon at 12:52 UTC. In total, the duration of the eclipse of the moon will be around 3 hours, 7 minutes.
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Is it safe to look at the lunar eclipse without special glasses? Well, in my view, absolutely yes. It is perfectly safe to look directly at the lunar eclipse 2021. I mean, there is no need for any protective eyewear or special eye covers to protect your eyes. WHY?
Because the intensity of light during any type of lunar eclipse is very much less as compared to the light emitted during the solar eclipse. However, if you want to enhance the beauty of your majestic view, you can definitely use a binocular.
At last, I wish you good luck with this epic moon gazing. And, do let me know about your astonishing experience in the comment section.
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