Chicago, IL

Chicago will get to see a 'Blood Moon' during the total lunar eclipse this month

Jennifer Geer

As long as the weather cooperates, Chicagoans will have a perfect view of May's Blood Moon/Flower Moon during the eclipse in May.

(CHICAGO) If the clouds stay away, sky observing enthusiasts could be in for a treat this month. For the first time in three years, northern Illinois, including the Chicago area, will be able to view a total lunar eclipse on Sunday, May 15th.

Weather permitting, the Adler Planetarium says the event will be viewable beginning at 8:32 PM.

Where is the eclipse visible?

It will be seen in most of North America, although not everywhere will be able to view the entire eclipse. The best places for viewing are the East Coast and Midwest. Check out this map to find out which stage of the eclipse you can see from your location.

Chicago will have a great view of the total eclipse if the skies are clear.

Do you need a telescope to view the eclipse?

No. You don't need special equipment like a telescope or binoculars for a lunar eclipse.

What's the timeline for Chicago?

  • 8:32 PM CT: Penumbral lunar eclipse starts
  • 9:27 PM CT: Partial lunar eclipse starts
  • 10:29 PM CT: Totality starts
  • 11:53 PM CT: Totality ends
  • 12:55 AM CT: Partial lunar eclipse ends
  • 1:50 AM CT: Penumbral lunar eclipse ends

Head to the Planetarium for a free viewing event

On Sunday, May 15th, from 9 PM to 12 AM, the Adler Planetarium is holding a free public viewing event. Astronomy experts and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and set up small telescopes for viewing.

Get tickets here, as space is limited, and don't forget your blankets and lawn chairs.

What is a total lunar eclipse?

The Adler Planetarium explains, "a total lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon is fully engulfed by the Earth’s shadow." Once the Moon is completely in the shadow, the Moon can appear a reddish color, similar to how the sun appears reddish before sunset.

Director of Public Observing Michelle Nichols says, “Think of a lunar eclipse as showing you the color of the collective sunrises and sunsets happening around the entire edge of the Earth at that exact moment.”

Will the Moon really turn red?

It might. Although it could be a light or dark red, or even an orangish hue or gray. Astronomers can't predict the exact color prior to the eclipse.

According to the Adler Planetarium, the Blood Moon name comes from the color that the Moon turns during a total lunar eclipse, and it is not an astronomical term.

The Flower Moon

The Full Moon in May is known as the Flower Moon because May is when flowers begin blooming. It's also known as the Planting Moon.

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Jennifer covers lifestyle content and local news for the Chicago area. New articles published each weekday.

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