See 1st lunar eclipse of 2023 darken the full Flower Moon in eerie photos

a dark shadow lies across the top of the moon
A penumbral lunar eclipse as seen from Kolkata, India on May 5, 2023. (Image credit: Debajyoti Chakraborty/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Skywatchers taking in the full moon this month got to witness the first lunar eclipse of 2023.

A penumbral lunar eclipse of the full Flower Moon took place on May 5, 2023 and was visible for much of the Eastern Hemisphere and Antarctica. This type of lunar eclipse occurs when the moon enters the outermost part of Earth's shadow, known as the penumbra. While these eclipses aren't nearly as dramatic as a total or partial lunar eclipse, they nonetheless offer skywatchers the chance to visualize the astronomical alignment of the sun, Earth and the moon in real time.

This particular eclipse appeared as a dark 'smudge' or 'stain' on the outer portion of the moon. Photographers throughout Asia and the Middle East were able to capture the eclipse in the eerie photographs below.

Related: Lunar eclipses 2023: When, where & how to see them


A Celestron telescope on a white background

(Image credit: Celestron)

Looking for a telescope to observe the moon or anything else in the sky? We recommend the Celestron Astro Fi 102 as the top pick in our best beginner's telescope guide

The second lunar eclipse of 2023 will be a partial lunar eclipse on October 28, followed by another penumbral lunar eclipse in March 2024. Be sure not to miss our guide offering a full calendar of lunar eclipses in 2023.

And if you live in the path of a lunar eclipse and want to take photos of it, be sure not to miss our guide on how to photograph a lunar eclipse

During the full Flower Moon on May 5, skywatchers in Duhok, Iraq saw the penumbral lunar eclipse appear to just slightly darken one edge of the full moon in the night sky.

A view of the moon during Penumbral Lunar Eclipse in Duhok, Iraq on May 05, 2023. (Image credit: Ismael Adnan Yaqoob/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Some of the images from Duhok captured a fairly dramatic penumbral lunar eclipse in which the outer edge of Earth's shadow was plainly visible on the face of the moon.

A view of the moon during Penumbral Lunar Eclipse in Duhok, Iraq on May 5, 2023. (Image credit: Ismael Adnan Yaqoob/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Photographers in Moscow, Russia witnessed the eclipse darken a reddish-looking moon as it sat low on the horizon.

A view of the moon during Penumbral Lunar Eclipse in Moscow, Russia on May 5, 2023. (Image credit: Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The penumbral lunar eclipse was more dramatic as seen from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where it appeared to darken one half of the moon's disk.

This photo taken on May 5, 2023 shows the moon during a penumbral lunar eclipse in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. (Image credit: CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP via Getty Images)

Farther east, photographers in China captured the moon as it grew significantly darker when Earth's shadow stretched across it.

The moon is seen during penumbral lunar eclipse on May 5, 2023 in Yingkou, Liaoning Province of China. (Image credit: Liu Debin/VCG via Getty Images)

And in Srinagar, India, moonwatchers were treated to a spectacle as the penumbral eclipse created a distinct shadow across one side of the moon's face.

the full moon in the sky, with one edge darkened by a penumbral lunar eclipse

The full Flower Moon is seen during a penumbral lunar eclipse in Srinagar, India. (Image credit: Saqib Majeed/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

If you hope to take a look at the moon close-up during an eclipse or any other time, our guides to the best telescopes and best binoculars are a great place to start. 

And for tips on photographing the night sky in general, check out our guide on how to photograph the moon and our rundowns on the best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Brett Tingley
Managing Editor,

Brett is curious about emerging aerospace technologies, alternative launch concepts, military space developments and uncrewed aircraft systems. Brett's work has appeared on Scientific American, The War Zone, Popular Science, the History Channel, Science Discovery and more. Brett has English degrees from Clemson University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In his free time, Brett enjoys skywatching throughout the dark skies of the Appalachian mountains.