Get ready for a blood-red lunar eclipse this weekend

Get Ready For A Blood Red Lunar Eclipse This Weekend

SPOKANE, Wash.– Attention all skywatchers! A total lunar eclipse will rise into the skies of the Inland Northwest on Sunday evening, May 15th. This is the first of two lunar eclipses we’ll be able to see this year.

A lunar eclipse happens when the earth passes directly between the sun and the moon. The moon crosses through the shadow of the earth! When the moon is totally eclipsed by the earth, it will glow a dark red. This is why they’ve been called ‘blood moons’ for centuries.

Why does it glow red? The only light on the moon during a total eclipse is passing through the earth’s atmosphere. Just like what happens during a sunset, the long stretch of our atmosphere this light must pass through will scatter away all the colors of light except for red. So, if you were standing on the moon during a lunar eclipse, it would be like seeing every sunset and sunrise on earth all at once!

The eclipse will begin on Sunday before the moon rises in the Inland Northwest. The moon will already be over three-quarters eclipsed when it rises starting at 8:14 p.m. and the total eclipse will begin at 8:29 p.m. Because the moon is fairly dim during a total lunar eclipse, it may be very hard to see as it is rising. Even though it will be tough to see at the start, the moon will be in total eclipse until 9:53 pm. It should be darker, higher in the sky, and easier to see the later we get in the evening.

That said, the whole of this eclipse will happen when the moon is fairly low, so you need to find a spot with an open view to the southeast to maximize your chances of seeing it. The sight of a total eclipse low to the ground should be a fascinating opportunity to get some unique photography.

RELATED: Meteors, eclipses, full moons: All of the reasons to look up in 2022

We still need the weather to cooperate, though. Afternoon rain and storms are likely during the weekend, so it’s unlikely that we’ll see perfectly clear skies on Sunday evening. Instead, expect partly cloudy conditions and a 50/50 shot at being able to see the eclipse with your own two eyes. If the clouds don’t cooperate where you live, there’s always this livestream run by NASA to get a close-up view of the action.

RELATED: Rocket launch in Florida creates eerie ‘space jellyfish’ cloud

The other lunar eclipse in 2022 happens on November 8th at around two in the morning. Since November is a fairly cloudy month for the Inland Northwest, your best bet for a while to see a blood moon will probably be Sunday night.