On Wednesday 26 May 2021, Australia gets a super full moon AND total lunar eclipse blood moon.
One of the astronomical highlights of 2021, it won’t just be any full Moon, but a combination of a full Moon—May’s full Flower Moon—a “supermoon” and a total lunar eclipse.
Here’s everything you need to know about the “Super Full Blood Moon Eclipse,”
On 26 May, 2021 only the Pacific Rim will get “totality”—the full Moon turn red—but the entire globe will see a supermoon.
What is a super blood moon?
A “Blood Supermoon” total lunar eclipse is two different events.
The first is 2021’s biggest, brightest and best supermoons—the “Super Flower Moon”—which is so-called because just nine hours before becoming 100% illuminated the Moon will be at its closest point to Earth for the entire year.
According to Professor Fred Watson, a supermoon is a new or full moon at its closest point to Earth during its monthly orbit. "That means that it looks very, very slightly bigger in our sky,"
Additionally to being 14 percent larger, the moon appears 30 percent brighter than its micro moon phase, although Prof Watson notes this difference is "not really visible to the naked eye". It describes the reddish color of the moon during a total lunar eclipse when the Earth casts its shadow across it. A blood moon, on the other hand, is the name given to a total lunar eclipse.
"The Earth's shadow has this reddish glow inside it, which comes from the Earth's atmosphere, so when the moon is totally in the shadow you get almost a brownish-red appearance," Prof Watson explains. "That's caused by light being scattered into the Earth's atmosphere, into that shadow."
April's total lunar eclipse will look slightly different than your typical blood moon, however, in part due to its close proximity to us. Professor Watson describes it as more of an ombre blood moon. "This one won't be uniform [in colour] because it's so near the edge of its shadow that it'll probably be lighter on one side than it is on the other."
If you missed the April pink super moon, never fear. In a rare celestial event, the super blood moon is coinciding with a total lunar eclipse which means most of Australia will see a lunar eclipse while the moon is at its biggest and brightest, approximately 158km closer to earth than April's pink moon.
But unlike April's lunar spectacle it will also coincide with a total lunar eclipse, meaning spectators will be able to view the major celestial event while the moon is at its biggest and brightest. In fact, it will be 158km closer to Earth than April's pink super moon.
How to watch
When: Wednesday 26 May 2021
Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Hobart:
May 26, 2021 at 6.47pm (total eclipse at 9.11pm)
Adelaide, Darwin: May 26, 2021 at 6.20pm (total eclipse at 8.41pm)
Perth: May 26, 2021 at 5.16pm (total eclipse at 7.11pm)
Where: in the sky
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