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Total lunar eclipse – a supermoon eclipse – on May 15-16, 2022

Map of Western Hemisphere showing areas of visibility of total lunar eclipse.
View full map. | Some areas of visibility for the May 15-16, 2022, total lunar eclipse. Image via Dominic Ford from In-the-sky.org.

Total lunar eclipse

People in the Americas, Europe and Africa will see the total lunar eclipse during the night of May 15-16, 2022. Plus, on this night, the moon is close: a supermoon.

Penumbral eclipse begins at 1:32 UTC on May 16 (9:32 p.m. EDT on May 15).
Partial eclipse begins at 2:27 UTC on May 16 (10:27 p.m. EDT on May 15).
Totality begins (moon engulfed in Earth’s shadow) begins at 3:29 UTC on May 16 (11:29 p.m. EDT on May 15).
Totality ends at 4:53 UTC on May 16 (12:53 a.m. EDT).
Partial eclipse ends at 5:55 UTC on May 16 (1:55 a.m. EDT).
Penumbral eclipse ends at 6:50 UTC on May 16 (2:50 a.m. EDT).
Maximum eclipse is at 4:12 UTC on May 16 (12:12 a.m. EDT).
Duration of totality: About 85 minutes.
Note: This total eclipse is central. That means the moon passes centrally through the axis of Earth’s dark (umbral) shadow. The moon is in a near part of its orbit – close to Earth – during the eclipse. It’s a supermoon.

Because they are so deep, such eclipses typically have the longest total phases. In this case, the duration of totality lasts almost an hour and a half: 84.9 minutes!

A full moon is up only at night. And a total lunar eclipse can be seen from all of Earth that is experiencing night while the eclipse is taking place. But some will see the eclipse better than others, depending on location. Some will see it at moonrise or moonset, when the moon is low in the sky. Lunar eclipses are safe to view with the unaided eye. Binoculars and telescopes enhance the view, but aren’t required.

Moon, constellation, Saros

This lunar eclipse takes place 1.5 days before the moon reaches perigee, its closest point to Earth for the month. So this full moon is a supermoon. That means, during this eclipse, the moon appears relatively large in our sky.

During the May 15-16 eclipse, the moon is located in the direction of the constellation Libra.

The eclipse belongs to Saros 131 in the catalog of lunar eclipses. It is number 34 of 72 eclipses in the series. All eclipses in this series occur at the moon’s descending node. The moon moves northward with respect to the node with each succeeding eclipse in the series.

Expect higher-than-usual tides, following this eclipse

The May full moon is a supermoon, closest to the Earth for May just 1 1/2 days before the eclipse takes place. Thus, in the day or two after the eclipse, people who live along a coastline can expect higher-than-usual tides.

Some call this sort of tide perigean spring tides. But in recent years, since close new or full moons have come to be called supermoons, the extra high tides they bring are sometimes called supermoon tides. Some also favor the term king tides.

The path of the moon during the eclipse

Find the moon’s path with respect to Earth’s umbral and penumbral shadows below. You can visit timeanddate.com to get an exact timing of the eclipse from your location.

Total lunar eclipse; Thousand year canon of lunar eclipses
A map for the total lunar eclipse on May 16, 2022. It sweeps across the Americas, Europe, and Africa. Areas in white on the map will see the total eclipse, the line down the middle notes where greatest eclipse occurs. Shaded areas will see part of the eclipse and dark areas are where the eclipse is not visible. Note the difference between UTC and TD (terrestrial dynamical time, often abbreviated TT as well). Key to lunar eclipse maps here. Image via Fred Espenak.

Last and next eclipses, and eclipse seasons

The total lunar eclipse of May 16, 2022, is preceded two weeks earlier by a partial solar eclipse on April 30, 2022. These two eclipses take place within a single eclipse season.

An eclipse season is an approximate 35-day period during which it’s inevitable for at least 2 (and possibly 3) eclipses to take place.

The October-November 2022 eclipse season will feature a partial solar eclipse on October 25 and a total lunar eclipse on November 7-8.

Maps and data for the total lunar eclipse

Lunar eclipse photos from our EarthSky community

Submit your photo to EarthSky here.

Lunar craters and 'seas' on the reddish moon's surface, visible during the eclipse.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | EarthSky friend Tom Wildoner – of the website LeisurelyScientist – captured this image of a total lunar eclipse in 2019 from Weatherly, Pennsylvania. Thank you, Tom!
Lunar eclipse: Shining orange moon with streak of white on top on a black sky background.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Timothy E. O’Sullivan took this shot on May 26, 2021, in Sacramento, California. He wrote: “The lunar eclipse of May 26, 2021, reached near totality in my location. I like the red moon, and I also like seeing stars right by the full moon.”

More resources

Three of Fred Espenak's eclipse publications.
Thank you, Fred Espenak, for granting permission to reprint this article. For the best in eclipse info – from a world’s expert – visit Fred’s publications page.

Bottom line: An almost hour-and-a-half long total lunar eclipse will occur on Sunday night, May 15, 2022. Its path sweeps across the Americas, Europe, and Africa.

Read more from EarthSky: Tides, and the pull of the moon and sun

See photos of the November 2021 lunar eclipse

EarthSky’s monthly planet guide: Visible planets and more

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