Remember the song "Total Eclipse of the Heart?"  Sunday night here in San Angelo, we can enjoy a rare total eclipse of the moon.  This event is unique in an interesting way. At its peak, viewers here in the San Angelo area should have a rare experience.  It's called "The Japanese Lantern Effect"  According to the "Farmer's Almanac" this means when the eclipse is at it's peak, the moon will appear the color of glowing copper gradating down to a beautiful "uneclipsed yellow silver".


This eclipse is special for another reason.  It takes place 1.5 days before the moon reaches perigee, which is its closest point to the Earth for the month.  So, that means this eclipse is happening when the full moon is a super moon.

Here are the stats for this eclipse here in San Angelo.

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San Angelo, Texas, USA

Total lunar eclipse visible

Magnitude: 1.4137

Duration:5 hours, 18 minutes, 44 seconds

Duration of totality:1 hour, 24 minutes, 52 seconds

Penumbral begins:May 15 at 8:32:05 pm

Partial begins:May 15 at 9:27:52 pm

Full begins:May 15 at 10:29:03 pm

Maximum:May 15 at 11:11:28 pm

Full ends:May 15 at 11:53:55 pm

Partial ends:May 16 at 12:55:07 am

Penumbral ends:May 16 at 1:50:49 am

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash
Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

A day after this eclipse on Wednesday, May 18th there will be another mid-month spectacle in the night sky.  There will be a rare conjunction of Mars and Neptune.  If you get up before sunrise you'll be able to see it with binoculars or a telescope.  Mars is easy to spot as a tangerine red point of light.  Once you find Mars, Neptune will be just a short distance north of it.


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