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Saturday, May 21, 2022

The next eclipse and red shadows on the moon: when the stars converge

Latest NewsThe next eclipse and red shadows on the moon: when the stars converge

A group of people enjoy a total lunar eclipse in Melbourne, Australia in October 2019.Scott Barbour

Adelbert von Chamisseau de Boncourt, who had almost as many names as professions – he was a zoologist, poet, botanist and writer – tells in The Amazing Story of Peter Schlemihl how its protagonist sells his shadow to a strange character for a bag of gold coins. . The shame he feels after makes him constantly run from the light, hiding from it so that others do not see his strange flaw: he is a man without a shadow. It is the shadow of the Earth that we can see from almost all over the world on the night of May 15-16 on the surface of the full moon.

The Earth’s shadow will begin creeping across our moon’s surface at 4:28 AM PST and will slowly move to a full shadow that starts in about an hour and lasts for an hour and a half. After that, the Moon will slowly emerge from the Earth’s shadow and from places where it has not yet set, and you can also see how it emerges from a partial eclipse.

During a lunar eclipse, the Earth is right in the middle, between the Sun and the Moon. This is similar to how Ibay Llanos stepped forward at the moment when Rosalia kissed Rau Alejandro. On the night of next Sunday, we, almost eight billion people, who (I hope so) will be on the surface of planet Earth, in a straight line between the Sun and the Moon.

Only when the three stars, Sun, Earth and Moon, are aligned do eclipses occur, and they come from the Sun when the Moon is between the Sun and Earth, and from the Moon when it is the Earth that hides the Sun’s light. This can happen during the phases of a new moon or a full moon, but not every month, because the plane of our satellite’s orbit is tilted by about 5 degrees, which is enough that we do not receive any of them in a month.

At the moment of totality, the shadow of the Earth on the Moon will change color, become dark, red, orange, ocher. In fact, there are as many color possibilities as there are during sunrise or sunset. The color we see on the moon during an eclipse will be even more beautiful when we know that it is due to the presence of that thin layer of gas that allows us to breathe. If the planet were not shrouded, surrounded by an atmosphere, we would simply watch how darkness covers Selene.

Fortunately, at the moment we can breathe, and the sun’s rays, crossing tens of kilometers, 50 to the stratosphere, the gas around us, are scattered by small particles present in the earth’s atmosphere. Longer wavelengths, i.e. red ones, are less filtered and scattered as more material passes through them, creating the same effect that makes sunsets and sunrises red even though the sky is blue during the day. In addition, we must add that light refracts, bends, just as we see our leg broken when we partially submerge it in water. No eclipse is the same, because the color depends on the state of the atmosphere, the amount of dust, humidity, clouds at the time it occurs.

Aglaonica lived in ancient Greece, a woman who went down in history as one of the most famous sorceresses of antiquity. The Greeks believed that the Moon was under his control and that he could make her disappear. In fact, she was an astronomer, able to predict eclipses, just like modern science understood how bodies move in the sky. We are no longer afraid of eclipses, they no longer announce disasters, we have already caused them ourselves, we do not need stars. So next Sunday, let’s enjoy the beauty of watching the shadow of our house move slowly on the surface of the moon, and when it changes color, let’s remember that it is what we see, these colors, that allow us to live.

Eva Villaver She is a Research Fellow at the Center for Astrobiology, administered by the High Council for Scientific Research and the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (CAB/CSIC-INTA).

space void it is a section in which our knowledge of the universe is presented qualitatively and quantitatively. It aims to explain the importance of understanding the cosmos not only from a scientific point of view, but also from a philosophical, social and economic point of view. The name “space vacuum” comes from the fact that the universe is mostly empty, with less than one atom per cubic meter, despite the fact that our environment, paradoxically, contains a quintillion atoms per cubic meter. , which invites us to think about our existence and the presence of life in the universe. Section compiled Pablo G. Perez Gonzalezresearcher at the Center for Astrobiology; Patricia Sanchez Blasquez, professor at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM); D Eva VillaverResearcher at the Center for Astrobiology.

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