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May night sky: Moon blushes at a total eclipse

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A total eclipse of the Moon on the morning of May 16 is the highlight for stargazers this month. 

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Taking place in the western sky before dawn, the early stages of the eclipse and the beginning of totality will be visible throughout the British Isles.

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Eclipses such as this one take place when the Moon is in the Earth’s shadow, creating a straight line, or syzygy, between the two bodies and the Sun. 

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The Moon enters the Earth’s penumbral shadow at about 2.30am, and the eclipse will be easily seen by the naked eye 

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when it reaches the main, umbral, shadow, where the Sun’s light is blocked completely, nearly an hour later.  

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Totality follows an hour after that, about 45 minutes before moonset. 

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