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Rare ‘Super Flower Blood Moon’ Total Lunar Eclipse to Occur on the Night of May 15
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Rare ‘Super Flower Blood Moon’ Total Lunar Eclipse to Occur on the Night of May 15

The moon's color will turn to rusty orange or reddish, giving it the nickname 'blood moon.'

Cover Image Source: Getty Images | ElOjoTorpe
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Get out your telescopes because it's time for a fascinating celestial sight!

Mark your calendar for the night of May 15-16th. There's a total lunar eclipse coming soon, allowing skywatchers to see the full “flower moon” of May 2022 which will be turning into a reddish-orange “blood moon” for almost 90 minutes. It's exciting, isn't it? Not just a supermoon, but millions of skywatchers in the Americas, Europe and Africa will also be able to see a blood moon thanks to a total lunar eclipse.

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The last total lunar eclipse occurred a year ago, on May 26, 2021. An eclipse involves an object blocking another and in this case, the Earth intercedes between the sun and the moon.


 

According to NASA, a blood moon occurs during a total lunar eclipse, when the Earth is positioned directly between the moon and the sun. When this happens it hides the moon from sunlight causing it to appear to glow in a rusty orange or reddish color. During different moments of the eclipse, it could also appear to take on shades of orange, yellow or brown.

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"When this happens, the only light that reaches the moon's surface is from the edges of the Earth's atmosphere," the space agency explained. "The air molecules from Earth's atmosphere scatter out most of the blue light. The remaining light reflects onto the moon's surface with a red glow, making the moon appear red in the night sky."

So what's a flower moon?

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It's just one of the names given to May's full moon since the Northern Hemisphere is witness to the abundance of flowers associated with spring during this time. According to CBS News, it has also been called the corn planting moon and the milk moon.

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What do you need for viewing the blood moon?

You can watch a lunar eclipse, even without a telescope. It is safe to view with the naked eye. A pair of binoculars or a telescope can however enhance the viewing experience.


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When can you see this super-cool sky phenomenon?

The visible part of the eclipse will begin around 10:30 p.m. ET on May 15, according to NASA. It will end around 2 a.m. ET.

Amie Gallagher, an astronomy expert and planetarium director at Raritan Valley Community College in New Jersey told nj.com, “Starting at 10:30, that’s when it’s going to look like a bite is taken out of the moon."

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Most of the moon will look white, but “darkness will start creeping along the left side of the moon. At that point, the moon’s going to be really high in the sky, and the moon will be inside the Earth’s shadow. That’s when it will take on that orangish, or maybe reddish, color.”

Oh, and if you miss this one, do not fret. There's another happening later this year on Nov. 8.



 

 

References:

https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/full-moons/en/

https://www.nj.com/news/2022/05/lunar-eclipse-to-turn-may-full-moon-into-a-blood-moon-when-to-see-it.html

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/total-lunar-eclipse-may-15-how-to-watch-rare-super-flower-blood-moon/

Cover Image Source: Getty Images | ElOjoTorpe