SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — There will be a lunar eclipse on Sunday, May 15 that may be visible in the Bay Area. The eclipse will also be a “blood moon” visible towards the southeast horizon.
KRON4 spoke with board members of San Francisco Amateur Astronomers to get more details on the upcoming celestial event.
What is a lunar eclipse?
A lunar eclipse is an astronomical event where the moon and Earth align perfectly with the sun, causing Earth’s shadow to fall on the moon. A blood moon is the result of sunlight refracting through Earth’s atmosphere, this causes all of the sunsets and sunrises happening around earth to be projected onto the moon.
Dan Smiley, founder of the Marin Stargazers Club, and a board member for SFAA told KRON4 that we may see a darker, more greyish red with this eclipse due to December’s volcanic eruption in Tonga spewing ash into the atmosphere. He noted that no one can predict the exact colors of an eclipse like this.
“We won’t really know until it happens, and that’s part of the fun,” Smiley said.
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When to see the blood moon in the Bay Area
“Here in San Francisco the Moon will rise at 8:06 pm on Sunday, and will be nearly fully eclipsed at that time. Total eclipse begins at 8:29 pm and lasts until 9:54 p.m. The Moon will be partially eclipsed until 10:56 pm,” Anthony Barreiro, the former secretary of SFAA told KRON4.
How to see it
Smiley noted that the best way to see this eclipse is to go to a high point nearby that has a clear view of the southeast horizon, as this is where the moon will be most visible. But if it’s a foggy night, we might be out of luck.
“If there is fog it will be obscured,” Smiley said.
Marin County Parks is hosting a ranger-led viewing event at the Deer Island Preserve, and it will include a short walk up to the viewing point. Registration for the event is required.
If you miss this eclipse, don’t worry, we’ll have another one this year in the early hours of November 8.