This month we won’t have just a regular full moon – it will be a super flower blood moon and a total lunar eclipse! But what exactly does this fancy name mean? Let’s explore these terms one by one.
The term ‘blood moon’ is used to describe lunar eclipses when the moon in the sky gets a reddish color as a result of an optical effect created by Earth’s atmosphere.
As for the supermoon, it’s an astronomical phenomenon when our natural satellite approaches our planet at the closest possible distance, so the moon looks bigger than usual.
This month’s supermoon is the second one of 2021 – the first one was one month ago. During the super flower blood moon, however, our natural satellite will come closer to Earth than during April’s pink supermoon.
Still, the difference in the distance will be around 100 miles, so it won’t really be noticeable to the naked eye.
Finally, the ‘flower moon’ is a term that has to do with the current season of the year and originates from Native American culture. We will talk about it in more detail below, but now, let’s focus on astronomy.
This month’s full moon will be the brightest at 7:14 A.M. (EDT) on May 26, 2021. However, it won’t be easily visible as it will be too close to the horizon or even below it. So the best time to watch it is the night before or on Wednesday night.
As for the total lunar eclipse, unfortunately, it won’t be observable all over the globe. Only those living in western North America, western South America, eastern Asia, and Oceania will be able to enjoy it.
The rest of the world won’t have the chance to witness this celestial phenomenon because, during the eclipse, the moon will be below the horizon.
90 years ago, the Old Farmer’s Almanac introduced traditional names for full moons that derived from Native American and European cultures. For the most part, these names described the season of the year and the natural cycles in the animal and plant world.
So, this full moon took its name from the fact that flowers blossom to their fullest in North America during this month. It is believed that the name ‘flower moon’ originates from Algonquin culture and might also have Dakota roots.
There also are other names for this full moon and the corresponding month in Native American culture. For example, the Cree call it Budding Moon and Leaf Budding Moon. For the Dakota and Lakota people, it’s the Planting Moon, and it symbolizes the start of the farming season.
Don’t forget to take a look at the sky on Tuesday or Wednesday night to enjoy the super flower blood moon – especially if you live in the area where the lunar eclipse will be visible.