We have good news and bad news for astronomy enthusiasts, as the Chicago area will get a combination of a “supermoon” and a partial lunar eclipse later this week.
First, the good news for Chicago area residents. Early in the morning of May 26, this coming Wednesday, a partial lunar eclipse will be visible. According to experts at the Adler Planetarium, the partial eclipse will take place just before the moon sets in the southwestern sky.
At approximately 4:44 a.m., a partial eclipse of the moon will begin, with a visible darkening of the left half of the moon’s surface. By 5:26 a.m., when the moon officially sets, just over half of the moon’s surface will appear darker from our vantage point in the Chicago area.
This month’s full moon is also considered a “supermoon,” meaning that the moon is closer to the Earth in its orbit than it normally is. That can cause the moon to appear up to 14% larger and 30% brighter than an average moonrise, according to Adler astronomers.
And now, unfortunately, for a bit of bad news. While the far western United States will be treated to an incredible “blood moon,” with the celestial body’s surface bathed in an eerie red glow in the early morning hours, the Chicago area will only see a darkening of the moon’s surface, with only a penumbral eclipse occurring in our area.
The total eclipse of the moon will begin at approximately 6:11 a.m. Central time, meaning that the moon will be below the horizon in Chicago and the rest of Illinois. The eclipse will hit its maximum at 6:18 a.m., and will end at 6:25 a.m.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago residents won’t have to wait long for another partial lunar eclipse. On Nov. 19, experts say another lunar eclipse will take place, with significant dimming of the moon’s appearance taking place in the skies above the Chicago area.