Cincinnatians will have a chance to spot quite a special night sky event.
NASA has reported that there will be a total lunar eclipse starting the evening of May 15 and lasting into the morning of May 16.
According to NASA, a lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, Earth and moon align in a way that the moon passes through the shadow of the Earth. Often referred to as “Blood Moons” due to their reddish hue, a total lunar eclipse happens when the moon hits the Earth's umbra, the darkest part of its shadow.
South America and the eastern half of the United States (which includes the Cincinnati area) will be able to see the entirety of the lunar eclipse and its stages, according to NASA.
To see the eclipse, you won't need special equipment, NASA says — just look up to the sky. However, they say the use of binoculars or telescopes will get you a better view of the eclipse and its vibrant color.
The ellipse is expected to begin at 9:32 p.m. ET on May 15. At that point, the moon will begin to dim as it moves into the outer part of the Earth’s shadow. At 10:27 p.m., NASA says the partial eclipse will begin. As this happens, at least to the naked eye, it will appear as though a bite has been taken out of the moon.
At 11:29 p.m., the total eclipse will begin, bringing the moon fully into the darkest part of the Earth’s shadow and turning it a dark coppery-red color. NASA suggests taking a photo with a camera using a long exposure to get the best view of the color.
The moon will begin to move out of the Earth’s shadow at 12:53 a.m. May 16, ending the total eclipse, now the bite taken out of it will be on the other side. By 2:50 a.m., the moon will be fully visible and the eclipse will be over.
Unfortunately, the forecast for the Cincinnati area might make it difficult to spot the total lunar eclipse. According to the National Weather Service (NWS) post in Wilmington (which covers the greater Cincinnati area), there is a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms on Sunday night. However, there is a chance that the clouds might clear up a bit as the night progresses. If it ends up being a cloudy night, as predicted, you can watch the eclipse via NASA’s livestream of the total lunar eclipse here.