You will need to set your alarm clock very early. Earth, Moon and Sun have an agreement for a total eclipse, the night between Sunday 15 May and Monday 16 May. Franceinfo describes everything you need to know to take full advantage of this event offered by Sky Mechanics.
What is a lunar eclipse?
It occurs when the Sun, Earth and Moon are in line. Our planet’s natural satellite is then in the shadow of the earth, which hides it from our sight. When the adjustment is not perfect, the eclipse is not total. But there she will be. This video shows the mechanism very clearly.
Let us not forget that it is a happy coincidence that we can witness total eclipses from our planet. If the Moon and the Sun sometimes overlap perfectly in our sky, it’s because the Moon, 400 times smaller than the Sun, is also 400 times closer to us.
What will it be possible to see from France?
The moon will not be invisible. As during all total eclipses, it will appear with a red color, giving it its nickname “Blood Moon”. This phenomenon is due to the fact that the sun’s rays will no longer reach it directly. Only a small portion of the red rays will be filtered by the Earth’s atmosphere and refracted towards the Moon, while the blue rays will diverge outwards. Sunrises and sunsets seen from Earth are tinted red due to the same phenomenon.
So what can you expect? You will find here, in 22 seconds, an acceleration of the total lunar eclipse on January 21, 2019. We see that the Moon is gradually covered by the Earth’s shadow, and then appears in a copper color. Here is a snapshot taken in the Seine-et-Marne during this event.
Warning: this image is not contractual;) The exact color that the Moon will adorn is difficult to predict. It can be more or less red, orange or pink. Air pollution conditions can also interfere.
Finally, as always, a basic element of observing the sky must be monitored: the weather forecast. Friday afternoon, Météo France predicted very cloudy skies on Sunday night, which should clear the night from Sunday to Monday. Exactly when this will happen is still unknown.
When does the event take place?
From the French mainland, the sub-phase (the one where we will begin to see the shadow of the Earth sipping to the Moon) must begin at. 4:27. The umbrella phase (maximum) must begin at 5:28. The peak of the eclipse will occur around noon. 06.11, the end of the shadow phase must take place at. 06.53. “A lunar eclipse is different from a solar eclipse”comment to franceinfo Eric Chapelle, broker in astronomy. “For a lunar eclipse, when we are in the shadows, we say it is total”he strikes firmly. In other words, it is not like a solar eclipse, where the maximum is truly a marked and unique moment.
These times are problematic: the Moon will set and the Sun will rise at the same time. “The difficulty is that the light of the dawning day will dazzle, obscure the eclipse”reports La Chaîne astro on YouTube.
Some French people want more luck than the French: those who are in Guyana, Guadeloupe and Martinique. For them, the total eclipse should begin in the evening (22.27 for the West Indies, 23.27 for Guyana) and end in the middle of the night (around 04.00 in the West Indies and 05.00 in Guyana).
What precautions must be taken to comply with it?
No need for special glasses. Unlike solar eclipses, it does not require protective equipment to see a lunar eclipse. You can admire the spectacle with the naked eye. With binoculars or even an astronomical telescope, even a small one, the sight will be all the more striking.
Another precaution to be taken is not of a safety nature. This is about the observation framework. “In Paris, the Moon can be observed about 5 degrees above the horizon, it is extremely lownotes La Chaîne astro. If you live in a detached house, you will probably be bothered by your neighbors. It may be better to get upstairs in your house. If you live in an apartment and you have no vis-à-vis, it will not be bad. ” In other words: a totally unobstructed view is more than desirable.
When will it be next?
The next total lunar eclipse visible from the French mainland will not take place until March 14, 2025. “We will only see the beginning of it”, breathes Eric Chapelle. On the other hand, “that September 7, 2025 will be simpler and more pleasant to observe”he assesses, for it will occur in the late afternoon and early evening.