The gorgeous phenomenon is set to occur on Wednesday morning, May 26, 2021, and will appear opposite the sun in earth-based latitude at 7:14 a.m. EDT.
If you're someone who loves admiring the wonders of the night sky, then we have some good news for you. This month, you'll be treated to the largest full moon of 2021! What's more, a Flower supermoon will be reigning the dark sky. The gorgeous phenomenon is set to occur on Wednesday morning, May 26, 2021, and will appear opposite the sun in earth-based latitude at 7:14 a.m. EDT. The supermoon will be a whole 30 percent brighter and 14 percent larger than some previous full moons. It will appear full for around three days starting from Monday night through Thursday morning, giving you ample opportunities to catch a glimpse of the breathtaking sensation, according to Science Focus.
You might be wondering what causes a supermoon. First of all, the moon doesn't actually orbit the Earth in a perfect circle contrary to popular belief. It moves in an elliptical shape due to the gravitational forces between the Earth and the Sun. At some point in its orbit, it gets pretty close to the Earth (a point which is called perigee) and the time can vary month by month. Of course, there's a point when it's the farthest from our planet as well but we'll be focusing on the closed position. So, when there's a full moon and it is at perigee, a supermoon occurs. To understand this better, you need to know that the average distance between the Earth and the moon is around 382,900km, and the 2021's Flower moon on May 26 will be just about 357,462 km from our planet. Also, one in every 14 full moons is a supermoon!
As for the name Flower moon, it is claimed that a group of Native Americans labeled the May moon after the flowers began blossoming during this time of the year. That being said, Dr. Darren Baskill, physics and astronomy lecturer at the University of Sussex, explains, "People often say that we take our Moon names from the 'Native Americans', but they weren’t one group of people. There’s a danger of being culturally insensitive here. The USA is a massive landmass and was home to many different types of people." The cultures of Native Americans are as diverse as Europeans and they speak more than a thousand languages. Thus, they have different names for the May Moon, including, "field maker" and "blossom."
This upcoming flower supermoon is also a lunar eclipse as the earth will align itself between the moon and sun in such a way that its shadow will briefly cover the moon. The total lunar eclipse is also called a "Blood Moon" as most of the Sun's blue light bends and is scattered in the Earth's atmosphere and the light that reaches the moon is mostly red, giving it a reddish, blood-like appearance. Unfortunately, people based in Europe won't be able to witness the phenomenon, however, residents in Australia and west America will be able to catch a glimpse of the total lunar eclipse on May 26 from 11:11 a.m. The moon's proximity opposite the Sun will make it pass through the northern part of Earth's shadow for a total lunar eclipse. So, people from the Washington D.C. area will "only see the barely-detectable start of the eclipse as the Moon sets," according to NASA.
"Viewing will be higher in the sky across the U.S., Pacific Ocean, and Australia, occurring around moonrise from the eastern part of Asia. For the Washington, D.C. area, morning twilight will begin at 4:38 a.m. EDT. The Moon will begin moving into the full shadow of the Earth at 5:45 a.m., sunrise will be at 5:47 a.m., and the Moon will set at 5:51 a.m., with only a thin sliver of the left side of the Moon darkened by the full shadow of the Earth," it reports. You will be able to observe the phenomenon if the skies are clear and if you're in a place from where the horizon is clearly visible. You can behold the beauty of the sunrise and if you turn 180 degrees you will be able to see the curved shadow of the round Earth which will begin to fall across the edge of the Moon as it sets.
Representative cover image source: Getty | Photo by loveallyson