Look Up! May’s Super Flower Moon Will Turn Blood Red in a Total Lunar Eclipse

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Look Up! May’s Super Flower Moon Will Turn Blood Red in a Total Lunar Eclipse
  • Western parts of North America will be able to see a total lunar eclipse during the early morning hours of Wednesday, May 26.

  • Dubbed the “Super Flower Blood Moon eclipse,” the supermoon will turn red while passing through the shadow of the Earth.

  • A partial lunar eclipse will be visible in North America on November 19, 2021, marking two lunar eclipses this year.

Stargazers, get ready: A spectacular lunar event will occur in the early hours of Wednesday, May 26. The full Flower Moon, the biggest and brightest supermoon of the year, will pass into Earth’s shadow in a total lunar eclipse, turning blood red (okay, more of a rusty red) in the sky. And yes, parts of North America will be able to sit back and enjoy the show.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Super Flower Blood Moon eclipse, plus when and where you’ll be able to see it in all its glory.

When and where will the Super Flower Blood Moon eclipse be visible?

Totality—the period when the entire surface of the moon is blocked from sunlight—will last about 15 minutes. Unfortunately, people on the East Coast will only be able to catch a tiny sliver of the eclipse, since the moon will set soon after it begins.

The West Coast, as well as western regions of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska, will be able to see the total lunar eclipse before the Super Flower Blood Moon sets; people in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, meanwhile, will have a front-row seat, according to NASA. You can find the best viewing time for your location here, but here’s what optimal hours will look like for various states:

  • Texas: 6:11-6:25 a.m.

  • New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, Idaho and Utah: 5:11-5:25 a.m.

  • Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington: 4:11-4:25 a.m.

Even if you won’t be able to see the eclipse in your state, you can still marvel at the event. Dozens of live broadcasts (including this one from the Griffith Observatory) will help you follow along at home.

Will the eclipse really turn the moon red?

Photo credit: ElOjoTorpe - Getty Images
Photo credit: ElOjoTorpe - Getty Images

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the shadow cast by the Earth; the sun, moon, and Earth come into perfect alignment. A total eclipse does appear red, NASA explains, because of this shadow. (The name “blood moon” comes from this striking color.)

The lunar eclipse is safe to view with the naked eye, unlike a solar eclipse, which involves staring directly at the sun.

When will the Super Flower Moon be visible?

Even if you can’t watch the lunar eclipse live, you can still bask in the glory of the supermoon. The Flower Moon will reach its peak on Wednesday, May 26 at 7:14 a.m. EDT, per NASA. This is the second, final, and biggest supermoon of the year, NASA says, because it is the one that passes closest to Earth.

Hoping to catch a view of the moon at night? You have time: It will appear full for about three days surrounding the eclipse, up until Thursday morning.

The meaning of the name “Flower Moon” is obvious: Flowers bloom in abundance this time of year. The Old Farmer’s Almanac attributes this title to the Algonquin; other names include the Budding Moon and the Planting Moon, from the Cree and the Dakota, respectively.

When is the next lunar eclipse?

We’re in for another treat this year: A partial lunar eclipse will be visible in North America on November 19, 2021. The shadow won’t completely mask the moon, but most of it will appear red. The next total lunar eclipse over North America will occur on Monday, May 16, 2022, nearly a year from now.

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