A total lunar eclipse will be happening Sunday night.
The visible part of the eclipse will start around 10:27 p.m. (Eastern Time) May 15 and the total eclipse begins about an hour later, at 11:29 p.m., and will last for about an hour and a half, NASA officials said in a video posted on Twitter.
“At least two partial lunar eclipses happen every year, but total lunar eclipses are rare,” states NASA’s website. “It is safe to look at a lunar eclipse.”
The one that starts on May 15 is being described as a “Super Blood Moon eclipse,” according to Space.com, as the moon may appear to be brighter and closer than usual and will take on a reddish hue during the total eclipse.
“It just so happens that this full moon will be at its closest point in its orbit to the earth. In recent years it’s become popular to call that a super moon,” explained astronomer Silas Laycock, who directs the Schueller Observatory at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Laycock said for people in New England, the moon will be “pretty high above the horizon,” when the eclipse starts Sunday night.
Laycock said if the sky is clear enough, Sunday’s lunar eclipse should be visible to folks in both the suburbs and the city. As long as you’re not standing directly underneath a streetlight, you should be able to find the moon in the sky and witness it, he said.
“It’ll be high in the sky,” said Laycock.
(Right now the forecast for the Boston area isn’t looking great. According to the National Weather Service, Sunday night will be cloudy with a chance of showers).
Laycock said a total lunar eclipse, which happens when the moon and the sun are on exact opposite sides of Earth, occurs on average about once a year. But if you miss the one this weekend there will be another total lunar eclipse in November, he said.
Unlike solar eclipses, it’s safe to look at a lunar eclipse directly with your eyes. You can even use binoculars or telescope, according to NASA.
In preparation for the May 15 lunar eclipse, the Schueller Observatory at the UMass Lowell will host an event tonight for people who want to learn more about the upcoming lunar eclipse and how to photograph it. Veteran astrophotographers Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre — both former editors of Sky & Telescope magazine — will share their tips and tricks on how to best capture the total lunar eclipse using a cellphone or digital camera. The event is free and open to the public, and all ages are welcome, according to the observatory’s Facebook page. It will also be livestreamed here.
If you can’t make it outside on May 15, you can watch the total lunar eclipse online and pose any questions you may have to experts in real time on NASA’s live YouTube broadcast.
“Join NASA experts to learn about this incredible natural phenomenon, look through telescope views across the world, and hear about plans to return humans to the lunar surface with the Artemis program,” NASA officials wrote on YouTube. “Have questions? Ask them in our live chat.”
Emily Sweeney can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney and on Instagram @emilysweeney22.