See the blood moon eclipse in the SF Bay Area on Sunday

A total lunar eclipse will occur on Sunday night, and as the full moon plunges into Earth’s dark inner shadow, its surface will turn a dark, rusty red. For this reason, lunar eclipses are often called blood moons.

The view from the San Francisco Bay Area will be unusual as the May 15 eclipse begins at 6:32 p.m., before the moon rises in the east at 8:04 p.m., said Gerald McKeegan, an astronomer attached to the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland.

“So when the moon rises, it will already be partially in Earth’s shady shadow, exhibiting that familiar rusty-red color,” McKeegan wrote in an email. “Maximum totality will occur in the evening twilight at 8:29 p.m., when the moon will still be very low in the east. The moon will begin to emerge from the umbra at 9:54 p.m., at which time the sky will be completely Dark. .”

Because the eclipse will be underway when the moon rises in the east, Bay Area residents will want to watch the celestial event from a location with an unobstructed view of the eastern horizon. McKeegan recommends viewing the sky show from a location high on the ridge line, and said ideal viewing spots include Skyline Boulevard in the East Bay, Inspiration Point near Tilden Park in Berkeley, or near Highway 92 on the peninsula. .

The view also depends on weather conditions, and the National Weather Service said that as of Wednesday, clouds were forecast for Sunday. However, this could change in the coming days.


“There’s still a lot of variability in how the actual system tracks the Pacific Northwest,” said weather service meteorologist David King. “If it stays further north, we might be able to see more clearly.”

King said the fog could also obstruct views of the moon along the coast.

Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safe to view directly with your eyes, binoculars, or a telescope, NASA advises.

Lunar eclipses are infrequent, but not rare, McKeegan said. The last total lunar eclipse occurred on May 26, 2021. There were two lunar eclipses last year, and a second will occur this year in the evening hours of November 7 and 8.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, Earth, and moon align, and the moon passes into the shadow of the earth. McKeegan explained that Earth’s shadow consists of two concentric circular shadows, the fainter outer penumbra shadow and the darker, reddish inner umbra shadow. When the moon passes completely into the shadow of the umbra, it turns a bright red color and astronomers call it a total lunar eclipse.

Add Comment