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Lunar And Solar Eclipses 2022 – Dates, Folklore, And Facts

Wondering about the dates of this year's solar and lunar eclipses? We have them, plus folklore, superstitions, and more!

There will be four eclipses in 2022: Two of the Sun and two of the Moon.

Eclipses in 2022:

1) April 30—Partial Eclipse of the Sun

The dark shadow cone of the Moon will completely miss the Earth, passing approximately 750 miles (1,200 km) below the South Pole. But the Moon’s outer shadow—its penumbra—does scrape a part of the Southern Hemisphere. This causes a partial solar eclipse, visible to a varying extent around sunset across a swath of the South Pacific Ocean and South America’s southern and western portions: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, southern Peru, southern Bolivia, western Paraguay, and a tiny slice of Brazil. 

The greatest eclipse will take place over the South Pacific Ocean, 300 miles to the northwest of Yelcho, a Chilean Antarctic research base in South Bay, Doumer Island. The normally thick horizon haze may redden the Sun’s light, giving it the appearance of a slice of cantaloupe melon.

Times listed are Eastern Daylight Time.

  • Partial solar eclipse begins: 2:45 p.m.
  • Greatest eclipse: 4:41 p.m.
  • Partial eclipse ends: 6:37 p.m.
  • Magnitude of eclipse: 0.639

2) May 15-16–Total Eclipse of the Moon 

This event is almost perfectly timed for most of the Americas. The Moon will become totally eclipsed near or just after moonrise along the Pacific Coast of Oregon and Washington state, and across much of western and north-central Canada. The Moon will appears as a ruddy, ghostly orb, “magnified” as it rises above the east-southeast horizon by the well-known “Moon illusion.” From Hawaii, moonrise coincides with the end of totality; unfortunately for much of Alaska, the eclipse ends before moonrise. Across the Atlantic Ocean, moonset will intervene across much of Africa and Europe; much of central Europe will experience the drama of totality as the Moon sets. 

Totality will last quite a bit longer than average: 1 hour and 24 minutes. The Moon will pass south of the center of the Earth’s shadow, so during the total phase, the lower part of the Moon will appear brightest, while its upper portion should appear noticeably darker and more subdued. However, the brightness and colors that appear on the Moon will solely depend on the state of our atmosphere: a chaotic brew of clouds, volcanic dust, and other contaminants. So it’s hard to say in advance exactly how the totally eclipsed Moon might look.

  • Moon enters penumbra: 9:36 p.m.
  • Moon enters umbra: 10:28 p.m.
  • Total lunar eclipse begins: 11:29 p.m.
  • Mid-eclipse: 12:12 a.m.
  • Total eclipse ends: 12:54 a.m.
  • Moon leaves umbra: 1:56 a.m.
  • Moon leaves penumbra: 2:50 a.m.
  • Magnitude of eclipse: 1.414
Here is a time-lapse of the total lunar eclipse as seen from Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

3) October 25–Partial Eclipse of the Sun

To produce this eclipse, the Moon’s shadow falls chiefly on the north polar regions of Earth. It will be visible from an eastern slice of Greenland and all of Iceland, as well as most of Europe (except Portugal and the western and southern portions of Spain), northeast Africa, and in varying extent over much of western and central Asia. Greatest eclipse–with nearly 7/8 of the Sun’s diameter hidden–occurs at local sunset over the West Siberian Plain, near the city of Nizhnevertovsk (pop. 260,000).

  • Partial solar eclipse begins: 4:58 a.m.
  • Greatest eclipse: 7:00 a.m.
  • Partial eclipse ends: 9:02 a.m.
  • Magnitude of eclipse: 0.862

4) November 8–Total Eclipse of the Moon 

This eclipse favors the western half of North America, the Hawaiian Islands, eastern Asia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and the eastern half of Australia. Along the Atlantic Seaboard, the Moon will set while it begins to emerge from total eclipse. The Moon will pass to the north of the center of the shadow, and, as was the case in May, totality will be unusually long, lasting 1 hour 25 minutes. We might expect a moderately dark eclipse, possibly featuring a brownish hue across the lower part of the Moon, contrasted by a brighter coppery red upper rim. 

Times listed are Eastern Time.

  • Moon enters penumbra: 3:02 a.m.
  • Moon enters umbra: 4:09 a.m.
  • Total lunar eclipse begins: 5:16 a.m.
  • Middle of the eclipse: 5:59 a.m.
  • Total eclipse ends: 6:41 a.m.
  • Moon leaves umbra: 7:49 a.m.
  • Moon leaves penumbra: 8:56 a.m.
  • Magnitude of eclipse: 1.359

What Is A Solar Eclipse?

A solar eclipse, or an “eclipse of the Sun,” occurs when the Moon is directly between Earth and the Sun, and the Moon casts a shadow over Earth. A solar eclipse can only take place when the Moon is in its “new” phase.

Solar eclipse diagram.

What Is A Lunar Eclipse?

A lunar eclipse, or an “eclipse of the Moon,” happens when Earth is directly between the Sun and Moon, blocking the Sun’s light from reaching the Moon. In a total lunar eclipse, the Earth’s shadow completely covers the Moon, turning it a coppery shade of red, sometimes known as a “Blood Moon.” 

A lunar eclipse can only take place when the Moon is in the full phase.

What’s more, you’ll be able to watch any lunar eclipse with the naked eye—no special glasses or filters are needed!

Lunar eclipse diagram

Why Aren’t There Eclipses Every Month?

If solar and lunar eclipses occur when the Sun, Moon, and Earth form a straight line, why don’t we have solar or lunar eclipses every month? After all, they line up every time we have a full Moon a new Moon phase.

And why do solar and lunar eclipses always seem to happen so close together? If you look back through the last several years of Farmers’ Almanac astronomy calendars, you’ll notice that solar and lunar eclipses always seem to fall within a couple of weeks of one another.

It’s All About the Angle of the Orbit

It turns out that the answer to both of those questions, above, is connected to the angle of the Moon’s orbit, which is inclined about 5° from the ecliptic, another name for the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. For eclipses to happen with every full or new Moon, the Moon and Earth would have to orbit at the exact same angle (astronomers know when such events are going to happen, which is why you get alerted ahead of time to watch).

It takes the Moon a little less than a month (29.53 days) to orbit the Earth. In that time, it crosses the ecliptic plane twice. Each of these crossings is called a node. If the Moon is new or full at the time it crosses, a perfect alignment of Sun, Moon, and Earth, called a syzygy (from the Greek word for “bound together”), occurs, resulting in an eclipse.

This is also why solar and lunar eclipses tend to fall within about two weeks of one another. If the Moon approaches close enough to the ecliptic during a full Moon for a lunar eclipse to occur, it will once again approach the ecliptic about two weeks later, when it’s new, causing a solar eclipse, and vice versa. 

Sun, earth and moon orbits.
This graphic provides a good illustration of all the “moving parts” of these three celestial bodies. So when there’s a perfect lineup to cause an eclipse, it’s a big deal!

Hello, Eclipse Season!

The times when the Sun appears, from the Earth, to be close enough to the Moon to allow for an eclipse to occur, is called an eclipse season. There are two roughly 34-day-long eclipse seasons each year, falling about 25 weeks apart.

At least two, and sometimes three, eclipses occur every eclipse season. If the first eclipse in the season falls at the very beginning of that season, there will be enough time for two more eclipses.

Can You Have 3 Eclipses In One Month?

It’s possible, though very rare, to have 3 eclipses in one calendar month. The last time that happened was in 2000, but it won’t happen again until 2206!

Because the space between eclipse seasons is about a week shy of half a year, eclipse seasons migrate backward through our calendar, coming slightly earlier each year.

How Many Eclipses Do We Have Each Year?

Most years have four or five eclipses, but it’s possible to have a year with six, or even seven. For seven eclipses to be possible, a single eclipse season must fall during December and carry over into the new calendar year. The last time we saw a year with seven eclipses was 1982. If you don’t remember that, you may still be around to see the next one in 2038.

When Will We See The Next Total Solar Eclipse In North America?

If you were lucky enough to see and experience The Great American Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017 (which was a total eclipse of the Sun), most likely the very first words out of your mouth were, “when can I see another one?” Or if you missed it, you only have to wait another 8 years.

Prior to 2017, there had only been three total solar eclipses visible from the contiguous U.S. dating back to 1960. In contrast, today’s young generation of Americans will see five total solar eclipses over the USA in the next 35 years. This will be a defining feature of their lifetimes.

  • April 8, 2024: this path will stretch from central Texas to northern New England. The duration of totality will average just under 4 minutes (4 minutes 27 seconds in Texas). Interestingly, the path of totality will again encompass Carbondale, Illinois, who played host to this year’s spectacle – their second total eclipse in less than 7 years!
  • March 30, 2033: We should also note that a swath of our vast 49th state of Alaska will be darkened by the Moon’s shadow on this date. The northern and western part of the “Great Land State” will be inside the totality path. Nome will see 2 minutes 30 seconds of total eclipse. Alaska also played host to the total eclipses of 1963 and 1972, both occurring in the month of July.
  • August 23, 2044: this solar eclipse will envelop much of northeastern Montana and a slice of westernmost North Dakota near local sunset. Totality will last only around 100 seconds, but the width of the shadow path is immense: in excess of 300 miles.
  • August 12, 2045: A truly great eclipse will visit the United States, stretching east-southeast along a broad arc from northern California, through Kansas/Oklahoma and then down into Florida. Totality will last unusually long, ranging from 4 minutes 22 seconds along the Pacific coast to 6 minutes 06 seconds at Port St. Lucie, Florida.
  • March 30, 2052: will see the Moon’s shadow clip the southern tip of southern Texas (Brownsville will see 1 minute 48 seconds of totality). The shadow then continues northeast across the Gulf of Mexico, grazing the Louisiana Parishes that border Barataria Bay, the Mississippi Delta and Breton Sound, before streaking across the Florida Panhandle, clipping the southeast corner of Alabama, rolling through the lower third of Georgia before heading out to sea at the South Carolina coast. And yes, as was the case in 2017, Charleston, South Carolina will be in the totality path!
  • May 1st, 2079, nine minutes after sunrise, the Moon will totally eclipse the Sun for just over 2 minutes as seen from the Tri-State Area; New York’s first total solar eclipse since 1925.

Solar Eclipse Myths And Superstitions

Solar eclipse myths and superstitions.

In our technological age, relatively rare occurrences like total solar eclipses are well understood by scientists, and thanks to the news and internet, we know eclipses are coming well in advance; information about what they are and what to expect are readily available, and so we look forward to them. But in the days when life was harder and accurate information scarcer, eclipses were often seen as a mysterious and unwelcome disruption of the natural order.

Counting on the Sun and Moon

Man has always looked to the heavens, particularly to the Sun and Moon, to mark the passage of time, and provide social stability; daily and seasonal cycles have always been very important to agriculture-based societies. So what happens when the regular, predictable pattern of day and night, and light and dark that we all depend on, is unexpectedly disrupted?

Imagine yourself as a simple farmer in ancient times, out working in the fields, and suddenly, without warning, it begins to grow eerily dark, with the Sun still high in the sky. You glance upward to see what looks like a “bite” being taken out of the Sun. Sometimes the “bite” becomes larger and larger until the Sun seems to disappear altogether, leaving only a ghostly halo. It grows so dark that you begin to see the stars twinkling in the sky as if it were night. Pretty frightening, right?

It’s understandable, then, that solar eclipses were met with anxiety and dread. And it’s no surprise that folklore, myths, and legends about our most prominent celestial neighbors abound in many cultures around the globe.

Taking A Bite Out Of The Sun?

Solar eclipse with moon partially blocking out sun.
Many cultures viewed a solar eclipse as some mythic creature devouring the daytime Sun.

Most cultures viewed a solar eclipse as some mythic creature devouring the daytime Sun. In ancient China, it was a celestial dragon, and in southeast Asia, they imagined it to be a giant turtle, frog, or toad.

In Korea, it was thought that fire dogs were trying to steal the Sun or Moon, and when they bit it, an eclipse resulted. For the Vikings it was a hungry wolf named Sköll (whose name means “Treachery”) that raced across the sky, hunting down and eating the Sun. Even to cultures like Greece and Rome, which had enough mathematical and observational knowledge to be able to predict eclipses, they were often viewed as bad omens, portents of evil, and astrological events to be feared.

A statue of Rahu the hungry demon holding a golden globe that depicts the sun.
Rahu, the hungry demon, in Hindu mythology.

In Hindu mythology, it was believed that the demon Rahu stole an elixir of immortality, called amrita, but was beheaded by the god Vishnu before he could fully swallow it. Consequently, the demon’s severed head, forever alive, floats around and occasionally devours the Sun. To this day, in India, people make noise by banging pots and pans and setting off fireworks during a solar eclipse to scare Rahu away and make him cough up the Sun.

A northwestern Native American tribe has a legend that a solar eclipse is the result of a quarrel between a great bear and the Sun, ending with the bear taking a huge bite out of it. In fact, the tribe’s name for a solar eclipse translates to Sun got bit by a bear.

Emperors, Kings, and rulers throughout history have been particularly nervous about eclipses. Their court astrologers interpreted them as bad omens that the monarch’s power was in danger. In ancient Babylon, there was the practice of hiring “stand-in” kings to sit on the throne during an eclipse, so any harm would come to them rather than the real king.

In 1133 King Henry I died shortly after a solar eclipse, and some in his court had, in fact, assumed that it was tied to the astronomical event.

Lunar Eclipse Myths And Superstitions

Blood moons have interesting myths and superstitions about them.
Incan civilizations believed that Blood Moons occurred when a mythological jaguar attacked and ate the Moon.

Here’s a look at some of the stories, beliefs, myths, and superstitions about lunar eclipses from around the world:

  • Pay it forward: Tibetan Buddhists believe that the good (and bad) deeds you do during a lunar eclipse are multiplied tenfold.
  • A time to forgive: According to South African myth, the Sun and Moon fight during an eclipse. It’s up to the people to come together and encourage the celestial bodies to resolve their feud.
  • Coming changes: Many Native American tribes say lunar eclipses are a sign of a transformation to come here on Earth (based on their belief that the Moon controls and regulates our planet).
  • “Blood Moons” as a sign of the apocalypse: One of the most widely shared sayings here in the US about total lunar eclipses comes from The Bible. According to Joel 2:31, “The Sun will turn to darkness, and the Moon to blood before the great and dreadful day of the Lord comes.”
  • Avoid eating? In India, people avoid cooking, eating, and drinking during lunar and solar eclipses. They believe food spoils faster in the absence of the Sun’s light and may bring on indigestion. 
  • Relax, moms! In several cultures, expectant mothers are advised to stay indoors when the Moon turns dark for fear it may curse their unborn child. They should also rest from housework, since using a knife or other sharp object is believed to cause birthmarks.
  • Make some noise! Incan civilizations believed that Blood Moons occurred when a mythological jaguar attacked and ate the Moon. To drive it away and stop its slaughter, the people would shake spears at it and make their dogs bark at the night sky. Today’s skywatchers still give a nod to this ritual by watching lunar eclipses with noisemakers in hand to “scare off” whatever is swallowing the Moon.

So whether you believe lunar eclipses are spooky or spectacular, you can’t deny they’re a fascinating sight to see. 

Eclipses Are Good Omens In Folklore

Ecplises are good omens in Folklore.

Not all of the tales associated with eclipses are negative!

  • Herodotus, an ancient Greek scholar, and a battle in the 6th Century B.C. between the Medes and the Lydians, which was raging until a solar eclipse began. It is said the soldiers threw down their arms and stopped fighting, believing that the gods disapproved of the war.
  • And in Italy, it is believed that if you plant flowers during a total eclipse, they will bloom with more vibrant colors than those planted at any other time.

Modern-Day Eclipse Beliefs

People watching solar eclipse with protective eyewear on.
Eclipses are nothing to fear. Just wear protective eclipse eyewear!

To this day, superstitions persist about eclipses. Many cultures still believe that eclipses are evil omens that bring death and destruction. One of the most pervasive is that eclipses are dangerous to young children and pregnant women. Many people, even in our modern times, won’t venture outside during a solar eclipse because of the belief that they will be harmed (be sure to wear protective eclipse viewing eyewear)!

Fortunately, most of us know that solar eclipses are nothing to fear, and we will enjoy them for what they are—a rare and beautiful celestial event!

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