Astronomical highlights for the week of May 24

Weather
  • Wed, May 26, before sunrise: total lunar eclipse, visibility varies based on location (see tweet below)
  • When (all times are UTC, note visibility for your area below):


Image: NASA Scientific Visualization Studio

  • penumbral eclipse begins (P1): 08:47:39 UTC
  • partial eclipse begins (U1): 09:44:57 UTC
  • total eclipse begins (U2): 11:11:25 UTC
  • total eclipse ends (U3): 11:25:55 UTC
  • partial eclipse ends (U4): 12:52:22 UTC
  • penumbral eclipse ends (P2): 13:49:41 UTC
  • What to call it: technically it’s a total lunar eclipse. Other names being mentioned include Flower (from “Flower Moon”, a Native American name for the flowers blooming in May), supermoon (full moon occurs, 9.4 hours from perigee), blood moon (red color of lunar eclipse)
  • visibility:
    • The Moon will set before the partial (umberal) portion of the eclipse begins for eastern PA, most of NY and all points east.
    • For the rest of the eastern timezone northeastern half of the central timezone only the partial eclipse will be visible. Points further south and west will see more of the partial eclipse. Moonset will interrupt the partial eclipse for points further north and east.
    • All will see the penumbral portion of the eclipse, as the Moon passes through Earth’s brighter penumbral shadow, though this is more difficult to see and not worth hyping.
  • Lunar eclipse factoids:
    • Next lunar eclipses: Nov 18 (partially but nearly total, visible across North America), May 15 2022 (total, best visibility in eastern US)
    • Next solar eclipses: Jun 10 (annular, partial eclipse visible from Dakotas to Carolinas and northeast), Dec 4 (total, visible from Antarctica)
    • Lunar eclipses happen about every six months. Total eclipses occur (on average) about every 2.5 years. 2022, and 2025 will have 2 total eclipses, 2021 & 2022 have a total and partial, and 2023 & 2024 have a partial and penumbral
    • The reddish/orange color of lunar eclipses come from Rayleigh scattering of light passing through Earth’s atmosphere, the same phenomenon that gives sunrises and sunsets their colors.
    • Unlike solar eclipses, timing of the lunar eclipse is the same worldwide.
    • Lunar eclipses are visible as long as the Moon is above the horizon.
    • This is the first total lunar eclipse visible west of the Rocky Mountains since January 2019
    • Watch for distortion caused by atmospheric refraction to “squish” the Moon near the horizon.
    • Eclipses (solar and lunar) occur during ~34 day long eclipse seasons which occur about every 6 months.

      Image: NASA Scientific Visualization Studio
  • Resources for graphics and other explainers (Credit: NASA Scientific Visualization Studio):
    • shadow view
    • visibility map
    • dial-a-moon, defaults at the point of maximum eclipse. enter Moonset for your location for an accurate depiction, showing exactly how much of the Moon will be in Earth’s shadow.

·  Wed Jun 02 03:24:20: last quarter moon

Upcoming Launches

·  Wed, May 26 02:59 PM EDT (18:59 UTC) SpaceX plans the launch of Starlink-29 from the Cape Canaveral SFS in Florida

·  Fri, May 28 02:43 AM +09 (17:43 UTC) Arianespace plans the launch of OneWeb-7 from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in eastern Russia

·  Thu, Jun 3 01:29 PM EDT (17:29 UTC) SpaceX plans the launch of CRS2 SpX-22 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida

·  Fri, Jul 30 02:53 PM EDT (18:53 UTC) United Launch Alliance (ULA) plans the launch of CST-100 Starliner (Boe-OFT2) from the Cape Canaveral SFS in Florida

On This Day

  • May 25, 1961: JFK challenges nation to Moon landing before end of decade
  • May 25, 1965: Saturn SA-8 launched
  • May 25, 1966: Roll-out of first full-scale Saturn V
  • May 28, 1959: First primates in space, Able and Baker (monkeys), complete suborbital flight
  • May 29, 1919: Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity tested during total solar eclipse, The “Eddington experiment”

In case you missed it

  • The Sun remains very active, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded 10 C-flares and 2 M-flares. At least one is expected to graze Earth on May 26 read more…
  • Virgin Galactic launched first SpaceShipTwo on a suborbital flight from its Mojave, CA location
  • China landed its Zhurong rover on Mars last weekend, and rolled the six wheeled rover off onto the Martian surface last Friday evening. A 90-day mission is planned searching for water ice, studying surface composition, and measuring weather.

May 26th

The Moon will pass through Earth’s shadow Wednesday morning. A total eclipse will be visible from western states. The partial eclipse will also be visible from other states, depending on when the Moon sets from your location.

Satellite Passes

This information is best used to identify passes worth sharing or skipping. Those nearest overhead are closest, brightest, and longest. Check dates and times for each pass before sharing.

International Space Station (ISS)

  • fair pass begins Mon May 24 12:02:08 AM EDT from the E (91°) reaches 31°, enters Earth’s shadow 9° above the horizon 1.9 minutes
  • poor pass begins Mon May 24 11:14:53 PM EDT from the ENE (77°) reaches 23°, enters Earth’s shadow 9° above the horizon 3.3 minutes
  • below trees pass begins Tue May 25 10:27:35 PM EDT from the ENE (63°) reaches 18°, enters Earth’s shadow 9° above the horizon 4.7 minutes
  • exceptional pass begins Wed May 26 12:03:52 AM EDT from the ESE (122°) reaches 76°, enters Earth’s shadow 9° above the horizon 1.3 minutes
  • good pass begins Wed May 26 11:16:27 PM EDT from the ESE (107°) reaches 46°, enters Earth’s shadow 9° above the horizon 2.9 minutes
  • fair pass begins Thu May 27 10:29:03 PM EDT from the E (92°) reaches 31°, enters Earth’s shadow 9° above the horizon 4.3 minutes
  • fair pass begins Fri May 28 12:05:49 AM EDT from the SSE (157°) reaches 35°, enters Earth’s shadow 9° above the horizon 30.0 seconds
  • poor pass begins Fri May 28 9:41:39 PM EDT from the ENE (77°) reaches 23°, lasts 5.5 minutes
  • outstanding pass begins Fri May 28 11:18:06 PM EDT from the SE (139°) reaches 62°, enters Earth’s shadow 9° above the horizon 2.3 minutes
  • exceptional pass begins Sat May 29 10:30:29 PM EDT from the ESE (122°) reaches 76°, enters Earth’s shadow 9° above the horizon 4.0 minutes
  • good pass begins Sun May 30 9:42:56 PM EDT from the ESE (107°) reaches 46°, enters Earth’s shadow 9° above the horizon 5.7 minutes
  • poor pass begins Sun May 30 11:20:13 PM EDT from the S (178°) reaches 20°, enters Earth’s shadow 9° above the horizon 1.3 minutes
  • fair pass begins Mon May 31 10:32:09 PM EDT from the SSE (157°) reaches 35°, enters Earth’s shadow 9° above the horizon 3.5 minutes
  • outstanding pass begins Tue Jun 01 9:44:18 PM EDT from the SE (139°) reaches 63°, enters Earth’s shadow 9° above the horizon 5.5 minutes
  • latest predictions

Chinese Space Station (Tianhe-1)

  • pass begins Sun May 23 9:30:31 PM EDT from the ESE (117°) reaches 61°, enters Earth’s shadow 9° above the horizon 5.2 minutes
  • latest predictions

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