This has been the lunar eclipse this Monday and six answers to understand it

Photograph of the moon during today's eclipse, in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic). / Eph

Science | Astronomy

The phenomenon has been visible from Spain from 04:27 hours (one hour less in the Canary Islands)

Elena Martin Lopez

This morning the sky has delighted us with a beautiful total lunar eclipse. The Moon has been completely dyed red, giving rise to the famous 'Blood Moon', which has been visible from much of North America, all of South America, Central and Western Europe and much of Africa (except the extreme Oriental).

In Spain, observers have had to get up early to see it. The Moon has begun its passage through the penumbra (the faint external shadow) of the Earth at 03:33 (02:33 in the Canary Islands). From approximately 05:30 to 06:54, it has remained in the umbra (dark inner shadow), and at 08:51 it has left the Earth's shadow.

The best place to enjoy it has been the Canary Islands, where the eclipse has been fully appreciated; while its observation has been less favorable in the Balearic Islands and the peninsular northeast, especially Catalonia.

What causes a lunar eclipse?

This phenomenon is the result of the perfect alignment between the Sun, the Earth and the Moon, so that the satellite is submerged in the shadow that our planet projects in space, formed by the umbra and the penumbra. When the Moon passes through the umbra, the lunar eclipse occurs in all its splendor.

Why doesn't the moon disappear?

If something is placed inside a shadow, the logical thing would be for it to disappear. Instead, in this case, the moon appears illuminated and turns coppery. "If the Earth had no atmosphere, the Moon would disappear completely, but since it does, the Sun's rays pass through this layer of gas and are refracted (or deflected) slightly illuminating the interior of the Earth's shadow and reflecting off the Moon," he explains. Serra-Ricart.

Why does it turn red?

When the Sun's rays pass through the atmosphere, a phenomenon called Rayleigh scattering takes place, which causes particles in the atmosphere to 'absorb' the shorter wavelength blue light, allowing only blue light to pass through. longest, which is red, hence the moon looks red. In addition, "the red color is very intense and bright when the atmosphere is very clean, and very faint when it is dirtier," says Serra-Ricart.

As the Moon has moved through the southern part of Earth's umbra, the upper half of the satellite has appeared darker, a rich reddish-brown, while the lower half has appeared a darker red-orange hue. shiny.

Why is it such a rare phenomenon?

If the Moon rotates around the Earth every month, why isn't there a monthly lunar eclipse? This is because the lunar orbit is inclined about five degrees with respect to our planet. That is, the Moon and Earth are not in a straight line, so the satellite does not always cross the Earth's umbra.

The moon's orbit is tilted, so it doesn't always pass through the

twilight of the earth

The moon's orbit is tilted, so it doesn't always pass through the

twilight of the earth

The moon's orbit is tilted, so it doesn't always pass through Earth's penumbra.

How is it different from the new moon?

The movement of the Moon in its orbit around the Earth means that, depending on its position, the Sun illuminates it in a different way and the lunar phases originate. When there is a new moon, our satellite is located between the Earth and the Sun, which means that the illuminated side of the Moon is not visible from our planet and, therefore, we do not see it.

In a lunar eclipse, it is the Earth that is between the Moon and the Sun and the refraction of sunlight as it passes through the atmosphere illuminates the satellite. Also, unlike the new moon, which lasts a day, eclipses only last a few hours.

The alignment of the three stars means that from Earth we only see the non-illuminated side of the Moon

The alignment of the three stars means that from Earth we only see the non-illuminated side of the Moon

The alignment of the three stars means that from Earth we only see the unlit face

of the moon

When will the next lunar eclipse be?

The next total lunar eclipse will occur next November, but it will not be visible from Europe. To witness this phenomenon again from our country we will have to wait until March 14, 2025.

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