May 26, 2021 Total Lunar Eclipse: Shadow View

  • Released Monday, April 26th, 2021
  • Updated Wednesday, November 15th, 2023 at 12:17AM
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On May 26, 2021, during early morning in the western Americas, the Moon enters the Earth's shadow, creating a total lunar eclipse, the first in almost two and a half years. This animation shows the changing appearance of the Moon as it travels into and out of the Earth's shadow, along with times at various stages. Versions of the animation have been created for both Universal Time (UTC) and Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) — within the U.S. Lower 48, those in the Pacific time zone are best situated to see the eclipse.

The penumbra is the part of the Earth’s shadow where the Sun is only partially covered by the Earth. The umbra is where the Sun is completely hidden. The Moon's appearance isn't affected much by the penumbra. The real action begins when the Moon starts to disappear as it enters the umbra at about 2:45 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. An hour and a half later, entirely within the umbra, the Moon is a ghostly copper color. For this relatively shallow eclipse, totality lasts only 15 minutes before the Moon begins to emerge from the central shadow.

The view in these animations is geocentric. Because of parallax, the Moon's position against the background stars will look a bit different for observers at different locations on the surface of the Earth. The Moon is in the constellation Scorpius. The two bright stars in the upper right are ω1 and ω2 Scorpii.

A high-resolution still image of the eclipse diagram, with times in Pacific Daylight Time (PDT).

A high-resolution still image of the eclipse diagram, with times in Pacific Daylight Time (PDT).

A high-resolution still image of the eclipse diagram, with times in Universal Time (UTC).

A high-resolution still image of the eclipse diagram, with times in Universal Time (UTC).

The eclipse shadow diagram animations for both Pacific and Universal time, sped up by 5X to produce a running time of 13.2 seconds.



Credits

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio


Datasets used in this visualization

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