This is one celestial show you don’t want to miss.
During the early hours of May 26, 2021, we will be treated to a dazzling lunar spectacle: A rare ‘Super Flower Blood Moon’ total lunar eclipse. While it’s a mouthful, all it really means is that a super moon and a total lunar eclipse will occur simultaneously.
A super moon is a celestial event that describes the moon at its closest proximity to the Earth on its orbit (or reaches “perigee”). As a result, the moon appears to be bigger and brighter than usual. A total lunar eclipse, on the other hand, happens when the glowing natural satellite moves through the Earth’s umbra (central shadow), making it appear dimmer with a coppery red tint.
The moniker is derived from the abundance of flowers during spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the red color caused by the refraction of light passing through the Earth’s atmosphere. And when you put it all together you have the ‘Super Flower Blood Moon’.
A total lunar eclipse has 7 phases as it moves through the Earth’s umbra and penumbra. It starts and ends with a penumbral eclipse which is when the moon moves into the Earth’s outer shadows. Then a partial eclipse happens when the moon moves into the umbra and out of the umbra.
A total lunar eclipse happens when the moon is completely within the umbra and this is the phase that can be seen with the naked eye. A maximum eclipse is when the moon is slap-bang in the middle of the umbra.
The Super Flower Blood Moon 2021 eclipse is set to occur in the early hours of Wednesday, May 26. According to Time and Date, Chicago will experience, at the very least, a partial eclipse that will peak around 5:23 am.
A Time and Date page dedicated to the exact times the eclipse will happen for Chicagoans states that the Penumbral Eclipse will begin at 03:47 am on Wednesday morning, the moon will then start to appear red around 04:44 am, and the eclipse will reach its greatest magnitude above Chicago at 05:23 am.
Time and Date also recommend “going to a high point or finding an unobstructed area with free sight to West-southwest for the best view of the eclipse.”
More information specific to Chicago can be found here.
For anyone reading this in the rest of the world, you’ll likely also be able to see a stunning super moon and if not, you can stream the lunar eclipse online above.
The last lunar eclipse occurred between November 29 and 30 in a penumbral eclipse visible from North and South America. Later this year, on November 19, another lunar eclipse is set to occur, but will only be a partial eclipse at 97% of the moon in Earth’s shadow.
[Featured image from Instagram / @maidaskys]