The night of Sunday May 15th and into the morning of Monday May 16th, a total lunar eclipse will be visible from the UMD neighborhood, and through out much of eastern North America and nearly all of South America.

A total lunar eclipse can only occur during the full moon, when the Earth and Sun line up with the moon at exactly the right orientation and spacing for the Earth’s shadow to completely cover the moon. This is what makes it different from the New Moon we see every month, when from our perspetive the moon is shaded by its own shadow, while the side we can’t see is illuminated – a lunar eclipse occurs on what would then otherwise be the brightly illuminated side of the moon!

diagram of the geometry of a lunar eclipse, as described in the article, based on public domain art by wikimedia user Sagredo

 If you’re up late that night (not always recommended during final exams, but sometimes worth it), take a look at the sky and enjoy this stunning astronomical treat.


Read More


And here’s an experiment you can try at home to model how eclipses happen: