ST. LOUIS, Mo.– Have you heard that we are approaching a so-called “Super Flower Blood Moon?” Meteorologist Angela Hutti and Saint Louis Science Center Planetarium Manger Will Snyder break down all those terms for you.
The Full Moon for the month of May reaches its peak on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, but it will look big and bright both Tuesday and Wednesday nights, weather permitting. It is known as the Flower Moon, a reference to all the flowers in bloom this time of the year.
The Flower Moon will also be the second of two supermoons this year. April’s Full Moon was also a supermoon.
A supermoon is a full moon that occurs around the same time as perigee, the point in the Moon’s orbit where it is closest to Earth. Because of that, they appear a bit bigger and brighter in the sky than an average full Moon.
May’s Full Moon coincides with a total lunar eclipse. Lunar eclipses take place when the Moon is full and passes through Earth’s shadow (the Earth will be directly between the Moon and the Sun), causing it to darken and usually become reddish in color. The red color comes from sunlight filtering through Earth’s atmosphere. Because of the reddish color, a lunar eclipse is often called a “blood moon.”
This total lunar eclipse occurs in the very early morning hours of May 26. In the U.S., it will only be visible in its totality for those living near and along the West Coast. East of the Rockies, a partial lunar eclipse will be seen. This, also, is all weather permitting.
The best locations to see the “Super Flower Blood Moon” will be Hawaii. Australia and New Zealand.
In St. Louis, The Moon will enter the outer edge of Earth’s shadow, the penumbra, at 3:47am and the partial eclipse will begin at 4:44am. The peak of the eclipse in St. Louis will be at 5:42am. We won’t be able to see the rest of it because of the Moon setting.
The Moon will be very low in the sky during the eclipse, so if you are interested in looking, find a high spot with a clear horizon.
Weather permitting, the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles plans to stream live views of the Super Flower Blood Moon via YouTube.
The Lowell Observatory will also broadcast live views of the eclipse from multiple telescopes at its facility in Flagstaff, Arizona starting at 4:30 a.m. Central on YouTube.
May 26 is the first of two lunar eclipses in 2021. The other will occur on November 19, 2021, but it will only be a partial lunar eclipse. Unlike solar eclipses, which you should never look at, it’s safe to view lunar eclipses with your eyes.