Super Blood Moon Rising

A telescopic visualization of the 2021 total lunar eclipse.
Credits: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio

Super Blood Moon Rising. A spectacular full lunar eclipse turns Earth’s Moon blood red.

Early Wednesday, May 26, 2021, the Earth, Moon, and sun align perfectly to create a total lunar eclipse.

While there were four penumbral lunar eclipses in 2020, the last Blood Moon occurred over North America on January 20, 2019.  

What is a Penumbral Lunar eclipse?

The Moon passes through the Earth’s outer, brighter shadow- in a penumbral lunar eclipse. Usually, there is no visible difference between a penumbral eclipse and a full moon.

The May 26 total lunar eclipse promises to be more spectacular as the Moon passes through the umbra, Earth’s inner, darker shadow creating the Blood Moon.

The totality will only be visible from specific locations, but the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia will see at least part of the upcoming eclipse.

In North America, the eclipse’s total phase, when the Moon turns orange or red, will be seen in the western U.S., British Columbia, Alaska, and western Mexico. The remainder of North America will witness only the first partial phase of the eclipse before the moon sets in the western sky.

A Super Flower Blood Moon

Known by early native North American tribes as the  Flower Moon, due to the abundance of flowers blooming, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. The eclipse occurs shortly after the Moon reaches perigee, the closest point to Earth on its orbit, making it a Super Moon. Voila! A Super Flower Blood Moon Rising! 

This month’s Super Flower Blood Moon eclipse begins at 4:47 AM EST. Totality– the period when the Earth’s dark shadow covers the Moon’s surface – starts at 7:11 AM EST and lasts 14 minutes. Special glasses or specialized telescopes are not needed to view this lunar eclipse.

Why does the Moon turn red?

As the Moon passes through Earth’s umbra, dark shadow, a total lunar eclipse is visible. During this type of eclipse, the Moon takes on a rusty or blood-red color; Blood Moons.

A spokesperson from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) explained that “The red color comes from sunlight filtering through Earth’s atmosphere.” Dust in the atmosphere and particles from volcanic eruptions also contribute to the effect.

super blue blood moon rises behind the 2,500-year-old Parthenon temple on the Acropolis of Athens, Greece. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris,)

Weather forecasts call for the best weather for Wednesday’s eclipse across the Southwest and the southern Rockies. Mainly clear conditions are forecast for the Southeast. Clouds expected for Kansas City through Chicago as a disturbance moves over the region. Partial cloud-cover across the Pacific Northwest may provide an opportunity to see the Blood Moon.

If you can’t see it from your location, several sites will be streaming the event, including TimeandDate.

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