The longest total lunar eclipse in 33 years took place this weekend, between May 15 and 16, and it was a spectacle enjoyed by people from Africa and Europe all the way to the Pacific. Millions of people had the chance to look up and see the bright disk of the Moon slowly darken and turn red as it became covered in the shadow of our planet.
During totality, which lasted a whopping 84 minutes and 53 seconds, the Moon assumed its characteristic red color. This standard occurrence during total eclipse has earned the total lunar eclipse the monicker of a “Blood Moon” in English-speaking countries, but there’s nothing sinister about the hue change.
The redness is due to sunlight filtering through the Earth’s atmosphere. Red light is scattered more than blue light so the sky appears blue throughout the day and red at sunrise and sunset. This red light gets to space, tinting the shadow of the Earth. But we can only see that during a total lunar eclipse.
If you didn’t want to stay up late, it was cloudy where you were, or you simply missed it, you can watch the whole thing on the NASA channel, below:
The next one will be on November 8, 2022, visible across the Pacific. After that, we'll have to wait for March 14, 2025 for the one after.