Skywatchers can expect two total lunar eclipses this year — the first in North America for more than three years. This series of images shows the not-quite total lunar eclipse that occurred on November 19, 2021. These images were taken every five minutes. (More details here. This sequence clearly defines Earth’s core shadow and umbra.
– Zoltan Levay
Although seven can occur in a single year, the most recent was 1982. The fewest is four.
This minimalist mix will be the 2022 plan. No eclipses will occur before April 30th. It is a mixture that favors disappearing Moons. There will be two total lunar eclipses, both of which can be seen from North America. However, the solar eclipses will only be partial.
WHY DO ECLIPSES HAPPEN?
Eclipses of the Sun or Moon can only occur when the Moon crosses the plane of Earth’s orbit (orange circle) very close to the time of new or full Moon. Eclipse “windows” occur six months apart.
– Jay Anderson
Let’s first look at some basics about the eclipse before we get into detail about each event.
An Solar Eclipse, similar to the one in August 2017 across the U.S.A, occurs only at the new Moon. This is when the lunar disc passes directly between us, the Sun, and the Moon’s shadow falls on Earth’s surface.
A moon eclipse occurs during full Moon when the satellite passes through Earth’s shadow.
These alignments do not occur at every full Moon, as the lunar orbit tilts about 5deg to Earths orbital plane. Only occasionally does the Sun, Earth and Moon align in such a way that an eclipse can occur. This is synzygy. These alignments are roughly half a year apart, as shown in the diagram. The last eclipse of 2021 took place in December. Therefore, the first eclipse for 2022 won’t occur until April 30th.
There are three types of lunar eclipses: total or partial, and Penumbral. This is dependent on how deep the full Moon plunges into the umbra. It’s our planet’s dark central shadow.
If the Moon is fully in the Moon’s orbit, it will cause a total lunar eclipse. This can be preceded by partial phases. This was the case in the highly viewed event in September 2015. marked the end of a string of four consecutive total moon eclipses from 2014-15. These eclipses tetrads don’t happen often — the last one was in 2003-04, but it won’t start until 2032.
The partial phases of the moon that venture only partially into the umbra (pictured above) will be visible. You’ll also see some of the Moon in almost full sunlight and some in the deep, reddish umbral shadow.
Even though its disk passes outside of the umbra, it still faces the weak penumbral shadow cast Earth. One side of the full Moon’s disc is a little darker than the other. The penumbral lunar eclipses of 2020 were all of the same type.
Every lunar eclipse can be observed anywhere on Earth that the Moon is above the horizon. There is still a chance of luck — the sky must be clear!
Annular and total solar Eclipses require that the Moon cross directly in front the Sun, as seen from Earth. As the graphic below illustrates, these “central” solar eclipses cannot occur within a 2-week-long period when the Moon crosses over the ecliptic during one its two nodal crossings each calendar year. The geometric window for partial sun eclipses, however, is longer, at approximately five weeks.
Eclipses only happen near the time when the Moon crosses the ecliptic plane, an alignment that occurs twice each year. This “eclipse window” is longer for partial solar eclipses than for total or annular events.
The eclipse is total if the Moon completely covers the Sun. The brilliant disc of the Sun is completely obscured, and the ghostly white outer atmosphere, is briefly visible for a duration of seconds to several minutes.
Sometimes, the Moon passes right in front of the Sun, but it doesn’t cover the entire Sun. It’s most likely because the Moon is closer to Earth than its average distance. The Moon’s orbit doesn’t revolve perfectly; it has an eccentricity of about 5%. This is called an annular Eclipse. You can see the ring or annulus of sunlight around the lunar disk. Annular eclipses of Sun occur approximately as often as total ones.
When the Moon passes directly between the Sun and Earth, its umbra (shadow cone) reaches Earth’s surface and thus completely covers the Sun. The result is a total solar eclipse. But when the Moon is slightly farther from Earth, its disk appears too small to block the entire Sun, and an annular (or ring) eclipse result.
Total and annular solar eclipses are not visible from half of Earth’s surface. They can only be seen from a narrow track or path. The Moon casts a smaller shadow than Earth, so you must be in that area to see the event. The path or track that encloses the Sun’s complete eclipse can only be seen from approximately 100 miles (160 km) away. The partial sun eclipse is visible from half the Earth’s daylit hemisphere.
Long-distance travel is often required to reach the path of an annular or total eclipse. For example, in November 2013, hundreds of eclipse-chasers flew to northern Kenya to view the 11 second totality. A total of 15 cruise ships crossed the path of the eclipse on December 4, 2021. They were located in the remote Southern Ocean, hundreds of miles northeast from the Antarctic Peninsula. Only one of the 15 cruise ships was able to avoid the morning clouds and see the totality. That is dedication!
Each location on Earth experiences a solar eclipse approximately every 375 years. The Northern Hemisphere has a slight statistical advantage. (To see the global distribution of total eclipses, visit Sky & Telescope beautiful eclipse map.
THE FOUR ECLIPSES OF 2022
Here are some brief descriptions of the four solar eclipses taking place in 2022. As each eclipse draws closer, you can find more information in Sky & Telescope magazine and on this website. Except where noted, times are given in Universal Time. These can be adjusted to your local time zone.
For example, PST = UTC-8 and EST = UTC-5. (But remember to include daylight and “summer” time. PDT = Ut – 7 and EDT = Ut – 4.
|April 30||Partial solar eclipse 20:41 UT||South America|
|May 16||Total lunar eclipse 4:12 UT||N. and S. Americas, Africa, W. Europe|
|October 25||Partial solar eclipse 11:00 UT||Europe, W. Asia, NE. Africa|
|November 8||Total lunar eclipse 10:00 UT||N. and S. America, Pacific, E. Asia|
|April 30||Partial Solar Eclipse|
It won’t be visible by many people because the year’s first total eclipse will not occur until the 120th of February 2022. The greatest eclipse, which covers just half of the Sun’s surface, can be viewed at 20:41 Universal Time, from a location in the Southern Ocean, roughly halfway between South America and Antarctic Peninsula.
Despite this, South America’s timing and geometries are very favorable. All of Chile and Argentina, along with some from Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay will be able to witness a partial coverage between late afternoon and sunset.
May 16: Total Lunar Eclipse
The May 2022 total lunar eclipse will be the first such event to be observable in all contiguous U.S. states since 2018. After the Moon has completed half of its orbit, and its phase changes from new to complete, the Sun and Moon align again to create a total lunar Eclipse on May 16th. This eclipse will not be like the one last November when the lunar disk was barely separated from Earth’s umbra. This May’s event will also mark the first time everyone within the United States has had the opportunity to see the Moon completely eclipsed since January 2018, almost 3 1/2 years ago.
It is not a prime-time event, however. The partial phase starts at 2:28 UTC and ends at 5:56 UT. Watch for dusky penumbral shading around 45 minutes and 45 minutes prior to the partial phase’s beginning. Totality runs between 3:39 and 4:54 UT. Mid-eclipse occurs at 4:12 UT.
This eclipse will be visible across Europe and Africa during the early hours of the morning, given these times. For observers in North and South America however, the majority of the action will take place on Sunday evening May 15th. Mark your calendars accordingly! The U.S. has an East Coast observing edge, which will allow them to see the Moon higher in the sky than those who live west.
The graphic shows that the Moon passes through Earth’s umbra in a central position. Totality lasts for 85 minutes. Expect a dark eclipse, with a slight brightening along its southern limb.
How dark is dark? For such estimations, lunar-eclipse observer uses a five-step estimate called Danjon scale. A telescope can be used to observe the umbra’s abrupt edge along the lunar disk. It also records the times it covers or uncovers craters. This article explains the Danjon scale as well as the timing of crater events.
October 25: Partial Solar Eclipse
The western Russia region will be the most affected by October 25th’s partial eclipse. Viewers in Europe, the Middle East and western Asia will see less of the Sun’s disc.
This year will see no annular or total solar eclipses for the first time since 2018. The two partial solar eclipses of 2022 are not visible from North America. The one on October 25th, however, will be visible across a large area of the Eastern Hemisphere from Iceland (where you can see it near sunrise) to western India (near sunset).
The best places are in Europe, the Middle East and western Asia. The Moon takes the largest bite out of the Sun’s disk, 82% of its surface and 86% of it diameter, as seen from the West Siberian Plain, some 1,500miles east of Moscow. Here is a list of nine major cities in local circumstances, in 24-hour local (* eclipse in progress @ sunset); obscuration (Obs.), refers to the Sun’s area, and magnitude (Mag.), refers to the Sun’s diameter as covered by the Moon at maximum eclipse.
|Dubai, United Arab Emirates||14:41||15:51||16:55||39%||50%|
|London, United Kingdom||10:09||10:59||11:51||15%||26%|
Fred Espenak (an Eclipse specialist) has provided the above timetable. He has also calculated local circumstances for hundreds and cities, and has an interactive map which provides context for any location.
November 8: Total Lunar Eclipse
The Moon receives the shadow treatment two weeks after a deep partial eclipse. This is a total lunar eclipse which should be visible across North America.
Two weeks after the October 25th solar eclipse, the year’s second total moon eclipse occurs. The partial phases start at 9:09 UT, and end at 12:49 UT. Totality begins at 10:16 UT. It ends at 11:42 UT. Again, the Moon is fully submerged in the umbra for a generous 86 minute. Mid-eclipse occurs around 10:59 UT.
This eclipse will be visible across the United States (weather permitting), but western viewers have the advantage. Totality ends approximately at sunrise on the East Coast. The eclipsed Moon will still be visible from Hawai’i. It’s an event that’s best for New Zealand, Australia, and far-eastern Asia.
Two rare opportunities are offered by this eclipse. It occurs during the annual Taurid meteor display. The shower lasts several weeks, but the Taurids usually only offer a weak display. Meteorologists are anticipating that a strong “swarm” of Taurids could bring greater rates and possibly more bright fireballs, this year. Also, will there be “shooting star” swarming the sky on November 8th during totality?
The planet Uranus will be the second treat, and it will be just a few degrees east of the Moon during the eclipse. This distant planet will reach opposition on November 8, and it will be at its brightest (magnitude 5.6) It should therefore be easy to see with binoculars when there is totality.
Parallax allows observers in eastern Asia to expect even more dramatic results. The Moon will cover Uranus during totality. You might be thinking right now, “Wow! That must not happen very often!” Jean Meeus, a legendary solar-system dynamicist, says that Moon-in-umbra Occultations were last experienced with Uranus in 2014 and Neptune in 2008. However, after this November’s one, it won’t happen again until 2106 (again, with Uranus).
About Dadhichi Toth, the Author
Dadhichi Toth is a revisionary astrologer who works with both Eastern and Western systems of astrology.
He is the founder and CEO of astrology.com.au and previous author of the best-selling astrology series of books for Harlequin Mills and Boon for 9 years.
📧 He can be contacted on [email protected]