How to watch next week’s ‘Full Flower’ super blood moon, complete with lunar eclipse

Science

(NEXSTAR) — The second supermoon of 2021 will bring with it a cosmic phenomenon next week: a total lunar eclipse.

On May 26, the “Full Flower Moon” will grace the night sky, marking the second of three supermoons this year. This moon got its name because of the abundance of springtime flowers in the Northern Hemisphere around this time, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. May is also the time when farmers begin to seed their fields after hard frosts have ended.

May’s supermoon is distinctive because it’s also a “blood moon” due to the total lunar eclipse, which occurs when the Earth, positioned directly between the moon and sun, blocks the moon from sunlight.

It’s called a blood moon because of the reddish hue it takes on during the eclipse, according to NASA. The red color comes from sunlight filtering through Earth’s atmosphere as the moon passes through the planet’s shadow over several hours.

How to watch 

Unlike solar eclipses, it’s safe to view lunar eclipses with the naked eye.

According to NASA, the best viewing of the eclipse will be in Hawaii, Alaska and the western states. For the eastern side of the U.S., the eclipse will begin during dawn twilight.

“You may be able to observe the first part of the eclipse as the Moon just starts to darken, but the Moon will be near or on the horizon as Earth’s shadow begins to cover it,” NASA stated.

No matter where they are, skywatchers around the globe will be able to enjoy the show under clear weather conditions. When you are able to see it, however, will depend on your time zone.  

According to NASA, the entire eclipse will last about five hours, from 08:47:39 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) to 13:49:41 UTC, while the peak — at 11:19:52 UTC — will last about 14 minutes. 

This means that on the west coast of the Americas, the eclipse will occur in the early morning hours when the moon is setting. 

If you don’t happen to be in an optimal viewing area, check out the Virtual Telescope Project, which will have a live feed starting at 3 a.m. PT on May 26. 

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