Two rare events are happening in the skies on the same day on Wednesday, May 26, as the second and final supermoon of 2021 coincides with a total lunar eclipse. Here are some tips for the best viewing!
If you’re hoping to capture a great view of the last supermoon of 2021 – you’re in luck! The moon will be at its brightest while the night sky is at its darkest. This happens on Wednesday, May 26, and it will be combined with another rare event – a total lunar eclipse – a blood Moon.
A “super” moon occurs when its monthly orbit reaches a perigee, which refers to the point of orbit in which a moon or satellite is at its nearest to the Earth. A full moon is considered a supermoon when its distance comes within 90% of its closest approach to Earth. This falls into distance of 224,791 miles or less of Earth, according to Earthsky.org. On Wednesday, the moon will be approximately 220,000 miles away from the Earth on Wednesday, ABC reported.
The term “flower moon” was coined by the Native American Algonquin peoples who used the name to describe the full moon in May, when there was an abundance of flowering plants, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
The moon will peak at 7:14 AM EDT/4:14 AM PDT on Wednesday, May 26. The moon will be very close to or below the horizon at that time, so look for a spot for viewing where the horizon line is unobstructed.
You can use the moonrise and moonset calculator by The Old Farmer’s Almanac to figure out the best viewing time for your area.
There will be great viewing for the eclipse of the moon on Wednesday, May 26. Unlike a solar eclipse, it’s totally safe to view a lunar eclipse with the naked eye. However, depending on where you live, you’re going to have to either stay up late or get up early.
The eclipse is called a “blood moon” because the shadowing from the earth creates a reddish hue, which is why it is referred to as the “blood moon.”
During a full lunar eclipse, the moon becomes totally obscured by the shadow of the Earth.
The eclipse begins when the moon enters the outer edge of the Earth’s shadow, (called the penumbra. This starts at 1:46 A.M. PDT. From there, the moon will reach the darkest part of the shadow, (called the umbra), at 2:45 A.M. PDT. The duration of the total eclipse will be approximately 15 minutes, occurring from 4:11 AM PDT to 4:26 AM PDT, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
The total eclipse will be visible in the western half of the US and most of the central US. It will only be partial visible for the Eastern half of the country, and not visible for the Northeast from the Eastern part of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and all states northward.
However, an online tool will make it visible no matter where you live. Check out the Virtual Telescope Project if you live in the eastern US, so you don’t miss out on the eclipse!