In 2022, there were four eclipses observable around the world: Two partial solar and two total lunar. Eclipses always come in pairs or rarely even in triplets in one lunar period. The partial solar eclipse on April 30th was visible widely across Chile and Argentina before sunset. About two weeks after, on May 16th, a long total lunar eclipse appeared in the sky primarily over the Americas and it was dark due to the influence of the ash in Earth’s upper atmosphere hurled back in January during the major Tonga volcano. The Autumn pair of eclipses started with a significant partial solar eclipse visible only from Europe and Asia, followed by the last eclipse of the year, the second total lunar one on November 8th, visible again mostly from the Americas and the whole Pacific then. The images were taken close to the maxima of the phenomena with the same equipment to show even the correct angular sizes of the Sun and Moon as they appear differently large in the sky due to the elliptic orbit of the Moon and Earth.
This is why I love traveling for total lunar eclipses. Here comes a comparison of both lunar eclipses of 2022, captured during the maxima of the phenomena. You might notice several things in the composite. Firstly, the Moon’s orbit is elliptical, causing different angular sizes during the Full Moon phases. While the May eclipse occurred during perigee, November one was close to the apogee. Secondly, different colors of the Moon during the eclipse caused different locations of it in the Earth’s shadow. As our atmosphere “sends” part of sunlight on the Moon during the eclipse, we can, actually, watch colors of the whole-Earth twilight around the planet’s edge scattered on the lunar surface.
And here comes the most interesting fact: The atmosphere is not completely clear, this year significantly absorbed the ash from the Tonga volcano eruption dozens of kilometers above the ground, causing less light coming on the Moon during especially the May eclipse. November one was interesting with its bluish tint on edge as the ozone layer absorbed part of the twilight colors. As said–every total lunar eclipse is completely different!
Used Canon Ra, MTO 1m/f10, ISO640, 6s exposures (lunar eclipses); ISO100, vary exposures (solar eclipses), captured from Vixen GP-2 mount.
Full credit of the images: KPNO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/J. Kujal, P. Horálek (Institute of Physics in Opava)