When is the total lunar eclipse, what is a Blood Moon and how can I watch it in the UK?

10 May 2022, 14:10

Make sure you don't miss the spectacular Blood Moon!
Make sure you don't miss the spectacular Blood Moon! Picture: Getty
Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

A total lunar eclipse will happen in the early hours of May 16 and can be watched by people across the UK.

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This month, people up and down the UK will be treated to the spectacular total lunar eclipse as well as a 'Super Moon' also known as a 'Blood Moon'.

On May 16, a total eclipse of the Moon will occur when the Earth directly lies between the Sun and the Moon, meaning that the Moon is shadowed by the Earth.

As explained by the Royal Museums Greenwich's website, for a total lunar eclipse to happen, the Earth, the Moon and the Sun all need to line up in a straight line.

"This means that the moon passes through the darkest part of the Earth’s shadow - the umbra", they write.

The Moon with appear with a red glow during the total lunar eclipse
The Moon with appear with a red glow during the total lunar eclipse. Picture: Getty

What is even more exciting is that this eclipse will cause the Moon to turn a deep red colour, which is where the term 'Blood Moon' comes from.

For people in the UK wanting to catch the eclipse, you'll have to be up in the early hours on the morning on May 16, 2022.

The Moon will start to enter the Earth's shadow just before 2:30a.m and the full eclipse will happen just before 4:30a.m.

Watch how it works here:

The eclipse will end around 7:50a.m, but won't be visible for all this time as around 5:10a.m the moon will set below the horizon.

The Royal Museums Greenwich [RMG] warns that people in the UK will not be able to see every part of the eclipse, but "will still be able to see the lunar eclipse at totality when the entire Moon turns red."

As well as the UK, people across South America, North America and some parts of Africa and Europe will be able to witness the moment.

For a total lunar eclipse to happen, the Earth, the Moon and the Sun all need to line up in a straight line
For a total lunar eclipse to happen, the Earth, the Moon and the Sun all need to line up in a straight line. Picture: Getty

The optimal viewing time for the eclipse is between 4:29a.m and 5:06a.m.

If you want a closer look at the eclipse but don't have special equipment, you can watch the total lunar eclipse live on the Royal Museums Greenwich's website here.