NASA's Lucy asteroid probe will watch the Super Flower Blood Moon lunar eclipse from deep space tonight
A simulation of how the Earth and moon will appear to the Lucy spacecraft around the time of the total lunar eclipse on May 15, 2022. Like a flashlight beam penetrating the dark, the moon's reflected sunlight will blink on and off during a lunar eclipse just visible by an asteroid-bound spacecraft. A NASA spacecraft called Lucy plans to take a side view of the Super Flower Blood Mmoon lunar eclipse of May 15 on its way to visit clusters of asteroids that orbit the sun at about the same distance as Jupiter, called Trojans. Regardless, at least some of the high-definition cameras on the spacecraft should (in theory) be able to see the moon passing into the Earth's shadow in the lunar eclipse on May 15 and 16, according to officials with the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado, where the mission's main science team is based. "From this distance, Lucy will view the eclipse from an angle rarely seen," officials stated in a press release Thursday (May 12). Looking for a telescope for the lunar eclipse? We recommend the Celestron Astro Fi 102 as the top pick in our best beginner's telescope guide.
To see the eclipse in action, Lucy will perform imaging using its L'LORRI (Lucy Long Range Reconnaissance Imager) high resolution panchromatic camera. The press release hinted that other imagers may be involved, but did not offer specifics. NASA’s Lucy mission will be the first to visit the Trojan asteroids. Additionally, during Lucy's main mission, the Terminal Tracking Cameras (T2CAM) provide wide-field imaging and L'TES, the infrared Thermal Emission Spectrometer, will measure the surface temperature of target asteroids. "Viewing this eclipse will allow the Lucy team to do a 'test run' of the observation procedures, making sure that all the imagers and equipment are working as expected," SwRI stated. A visibility map of the May 15 to 16, 2022 Super Blood Moon total lunar eclipse.
On Earth, the Flower Moon's eclipse will be visible in total phase from portions of the Americas, Antarctica, Europe, Africa and the east Pacific. If you're hoping to photograph the moon, or want to prepare your gear for the total lunar eclipse, check out our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography. Editor's Note: If you snap an amazing lunar eclipse photo (or your own eclipse webcast) and would like to share it with Space. Looking for a telescope for the lunar eclipse? We recommend the Celestron Astro Fi 102 as the top pick in our best beginner's telescope guide.
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