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Lunar Eclipses

Total lunar eclipse in 2019.
This is an image of a total lunar eclipse that accompanied the first in a trilogy of supermoons in 2019. Image credit: NASA/MSFC/Joe Matus

Who Can See It

Lots of people! People in the contiguous United States, Alaska, and Hawaii will see two lunar eclipse events this year—but not everyone will see a total lunar eclipse. 

Diagram of a lunar eclipse showing the position of the Moon, Earth, and Sun in a line not drawn to scale

What is It?

During a lunar eclipse, the Earth blocks most of the sunlight that normally reaches the Moon. The Earth is between the Sun and the Moon. This is different from a solar eclipse, when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the Sun. 

Watch this NASA video to learn more about the different roles of the Moon in lunar and solar eclipses.

Why Does the Moon Turn Red?

The Moon does not completely darken in the Earth's shadow during a lunar eclipse. Sunlight on the edges is scattered by the Earth's atmosphere, only allowing red light through to the Moon. This red light is reflected back to viewers on Earth who can see the lunar eclipse. 

Watch this NASA video to see why the Moon turns red during a lunar eclipse.

timeanddate.com lunar eclipse map May, 26 2021

Where and When Can You See It?

There are several websites to check to confirm if an when your location can view the total lunar eclipse on May 26th, 2021 and the partial lunar eclipse on Nov 19, 2021. 

TimeandDate.com has a helpful interactive to search for your location to determine start and end time of the upcoming lunar eclipses:

Eclipse Map — May 26, 2021 Total Lunar Eclipse
Eclipse Map — November 18–19, 2021 Partial Lunar Eclipse

NASA has created PDFs that summarize the location where the lunar eclipses will be visible here:

Total Lunar Eclipse of May 26th, 2021
Partial Lunar Eclipse of Nov 19th, 2021

 


 

Additional Moon Resources

 


 

Related NISE Network Activities

 

 

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