TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE OF MAY 15-16, 2022
BRIGHTNESS AT MID-TOTALITY
The total lunar eclipse on May 15-16, 2022 was already expected to be relatively dark, since it will be a central one with the Moon shining at m=-0.6(+0.6) at mid-eclipse. However, the violent eruption on Jan. 15 (volcanic explosivity index 5 or 6) launched a great amount of aerosols into the stratosphere and that layer mostly remains there, although not homogeneously distributed yet. As a consequence, based on statistical analyses of past eclipses with observed brightness data, the author estimates that the aerosol layer from Tonga will darken the Moon at totality by an additional 1.5 magnitude, rendering it a very dark eclipse with m=+0.9(+-0.9). Then the totally eclipsed Moon, some 0.3 million times dimmer than the usual full Moon, will be rivalling Antares in brightness and most eclipse gazers will be amazed to see it so faint and colorless, estimating it at L≈1 on the Danjon scale. Observers interested in making scientific contributions are urged to determine the light curve of the Moon during totality. Unfortunately, the Moon it will be too dark to be seen through reversed binoculars at mid-eclipse and direct comparisons with Antares through glasses or lenses or even naked-eye vision should be attempted.