Blood Moon in May 2022: 85 Minutes of Total Beauty

~5 min

In May 2022, we await a glorious celestial spectacle: the total lunar eclipse will be seen from the Americas, Africa, and a part of Eurasia.


What time is the lunar eclipse in May 2022?

The full phase of the total lunar eclipse will start on May 16, at 03:30 GMT, when the Earth’s shadow fully covers the Moon. This phase will last for 85 minutes making it the longest total eclipse since 2018. The worthy view begins even earlier — here is the entire timeline of the eclipse on May 16:

  • Penumbral phase begins at 01:33 GMT. This phase isn’t seen with the naked eye, so it’s only interesting for seasoned astronomers;
  • Partial phase begins at 02:28 GMT. This is when you can start observing. The Moon passes through the Earth’s umbral shadow that blocks the Sun’s light, so a part of the lunar disk looks darkened;
  • Full phase begins at 03:30 GMT, reaching its maximum point at 04:11 GMT. The Moon fully enters the Earth’s dark umbral shadow;
  • Full phase ends at 04:54 GMT. Don’t stop observing here and watch the dark umbral shadow leaving the lunar disk;
  • Partial phase ends at 05:55 GMT. Since then, the eclipse isn’t visible to the naked eye;
  • Penumbral phase ends at 06:51 GMT.

Below is the timeline of the lunar eclipse phases for the US time zones:

Eastern time zone (GMT-4)

The partial phase begins at 10:28 p.m. ET on May 15. The full phase is reached at 11:30 p.m. ET, with the maximum point at 12:11 a.m. ET on May 16. The full phase ends at 12:54 a.m. ET and is followed by the partial phase until 01:55 a.m. ET.

Central time zone (GMT-5)

The partial phase begins at 09:28 p.m. CT on May 15. The full phase is at 10:30 p.m. CT, reaching its maximum point at 11:11 p.m. CT. The full phase ends at 11:54 p.m. CT. The partial phase lasts until 12:55 a.m. CT on May 16.

Mountain Time Zone (GMT-6)

The partial phase for Mountain Time Zone begins at 08:28 p.m. MT on May 15. The full phase is reached at 09:30 p.m. MT, with the maximum point at 10:11 p.m. MT. The full phase ends at 10:54 p.m. MT and is followed by the partial phase until 11:55 p.m. MT.

Pacific time zone (GMT-7)

The partial phase begins at 07:28 p.m. PT. The full phase is reached at 8:30 p.m. PT on May 15, with the maximum point at 09:11. The full phase ends at 09:54 p.m. PT. The partial phase ends at 10:55 p.m. PT.

If you aren’t sure when to watch the total eclipse from your place, use the Eclipse Guide app. It calculates correct timings based on your location and gives you thorough information, including an eclipse calendar, visualizations, and a list of places with the best view.

Is a total lunar eclipse visible everywhere?

A total lunar eclipse is seen only from the places where the Moon at the time is above the horizon. On May 15-16, the full phase of the eclipse will be visible from North America (except the northwestern regions), the whole of South America, Africa, and Southwestern Europe. At least a partial eclipse will be seen in the whole of Europe, Southwestern Asia, Africa, most of North America, South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, and Antarctica.

Where is the best place to see the eclipse?

The entire eclipse on May 15-16 will be visible in South America and eastern parts of North America. By the time of totality, the Moon will be high above the horizon, visible from anywhere, given good weather. If you observe the eclipse from a less favorable location, it’s better to find a hill on the city’s outskirts. There should be no hindrance between you and the Moon’s visible path.

How to observe a lunar eclipse?

Unlike solar eclipses, it’s perfectly safe to look at a lunar one, so you don’t need any eye protection. It’s also an easy target for the unaided eye. Still, you can study the Moon’s craters more closely with a pair of binoculars.

What is a total lunar eclipse?

A total lunar eclipse is an event when the Moon, the Sun, and the Earth straightly align, the Earth coming in between the other two bodies. In this case, the Earth blocks all direct sunlight from reaching the lunar surface. Hence, the Moon looks reddish and darkened.

How does a total lunar eclipse work?

First off, a lunar eclipse can only take place at Full Moon because this is when the Moon is directly opposite the Sun in the sky. If the Earth at that time aligns with the Moon and the Sun, the Earth’s shade falls on the Moon, and the lunar eclipse is formed.

A total lunar eclipse goes through four general phases:

  • Penumbral phase is when the Moon passes through the Earth’s outer shadow called the penumbra. This phase is unnoticeable to the naked eye.
  • Partial phase is already great to observe. The Moon enters the darkest part of the Earth's shadow called the umbra.
  • Full phase is the most dramatic part when the entire Moon is within the umbra.
  • Maximum eclipse is the middle of a total phase. It’s when the Moon is right in the center of the umbra. The totality lasts until the Moon begins leaving the umbra shadow. On the way back, the Moon repeats the initial and the second phases.

How often do total lunar eclipses occur?

It may seem that lunar eclipses should occur every month since they are connected to Full Moons. In reality, though, they happen about twice a year. What’s the reason? The Moon’s orbit is inclined at about 5 degrees to the Earth’s orbit, so the Sun, Earth, and Moon align only occasionally. On average, total lunar eclipses are seen once in about 2.5 years from any given place on the Earth.

How long does a total lunar eclipse last?

Since the diameter of the Earth is much bigger than the Moon's diameter, the lunar eclipses are always longer than the solar ones. The whole event takes several hours, and the totality lasts from about 30 minutes to over an hour. Full phase of the total lunar eclipse in May 2022 will last for 85 minutes.

There are even more curious facts about solar and lunar eclipses. Do you know them yet? Take our quiz to find that out!

Man for eclipses quiz
Can solar eclipses be seen from the Moon? When was a solar eclipse first recorded on video? Test your knowledge of solar and lunar eclipses with this quiz.
Take the quiz!

Why is it called Blood Moon?

During the total eclipse, the Moon turns red. Don’t worry, it’s not a sign of God’s wrath. The color is caused by the refraction of light. The direct Sun’s rays don’t reach the Moon’s disk, but the indirect sunlight passes through the Earth’s atmosphere. The atmosphere scatters blue-colored light, while the longer wavelengths give red color to the Moon. Depending on how cloudy the sky is and how much dust it contains, the Moon’s color can also turn yellow, orange, or brown.

When is the next lunar eclipse?

The next total lunar eclipse will be seen on November 8, 2022. Here are other future eclipses:

  • Partial lunar eclipse on October 29, 2023;
  • Partial lunar eclipse on September 18, 2024;
  • Total lunar eclipse on March 14, 2025;
  • Total lunar eclipse on September 8, 2025.

Find the details on the coming solar and lunar eclipses in our latest infographic!

5 Upcoming Eclipses Infographics preview
List of 5 upcoming lunar and solar eclipses, their dates, timelines, and visibility maps. Find out whether you can see them from your location!
See Infographic

Bottom Line: The Blood Moon on May 16 is extraordinary, as it's long-lasting (85 minutes) and well-seen from much of the Earth. So, it’s a lucky day for sky observers. Find the correct timings and coordinates for your location with the help of our Eclipse Guide app and enjoy the view!