Attention all you stargazers! A total lunar eclipse is coming to Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley. On the evening of Sunday, May 15, a full moon will rise in the sky. May’s full moon, known as the Full Flower Moon, will be the first total lunar eclipse for the Continental United States since January 25-26, 2019.

A full lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes in between the sun and moon completely. This prevents sunlight from reaching the moon’s surface. There are actually two parts to a lunar eclipse. When the moon passes completely through the Earth’s penumbra, the sun is only partially blocked. If the moon’s orbit takes it through the Earth’s umbra, a total eclipse will occur. In the umbra, only the red light is able to reach the moon’s surface, giving the moon its reddish appearance.

Total lunar eclipse diagram. If the moon passes through the penumbra, a partial eclipse will occur. A total eclipse occurs when the moon enters the Earth’s umbra.

If you are trying to catch the total lunar eclipse in Northwest Arkansas or the River Valley, you will need to stay up late on Sunday night. Thankfully the majority of the eclipse will occur before midnight. Here are the following times for the eclipse.

  • 8:03 P.M. – the moon will rise above the horizon.
  • 8:32 P.M. – the moon will start to move into the Earth’s penumbra. Keep in mind this will be barely noticeable and you will only see the moon darken just a slight bit.
  • 9:27 P.M. – the partial lunar eclipse begins
  • 10:29 P.M. – the moon will move fully into the Earth’s umbra and the total lunar eclipse begins.
  • 11:11 P.M. – maximum lunar eclipse occurs
  • 11:53 P.M. – the total lunar eclipse end.
  • 12:55 A.M. – the partial lunar eclipse ends.
  • 1:50 A.M. – the lunar eclipse will end completely at 1:50 A.M. when the moon moves out of the Earth’s penumbra.

If you miss Sunday night’s total lunar eclipse, the next one will be this upcoming fall on November 8, 2022. However, that eclipse will peak over the Pacific Ocean, so we will only have a partial eclipse in Arkansas. The next total lunar eclipse you will be able to see in Arkansas will be about 3-years from now, on March 13-14, 2025.

In terms of viewing conditions, a partly cloudy sky will be present and will block some of the lunar eclipse. However, there should be enough breaks in the clouds to still give you a good show. You can stay up to date with the forecast and send us your lunar eclipse photos by downloading the FREE NWA Weather Authority app.