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Super Flower Blood Moon: Where And When To Catch A Glimpse

A super blue blood moon rises behind the 2,500-year-old Parthenon temple on the Acropolis of Athens, Greece on Jan. 31, 2018. (Petros Giannakouris/AP)
A super blue blood moon rises behind the 2,500-year-old Parthenon temple on the Acropolis of Athens, Greece on Jan. 31, 2018. (Petros Giannakouris/AP)

Eclipse season kicks off early Wednesday morning with a super flower blood moon.

Folks living in Australia, Eastern Asia and the West Coast of the U.S. will be able to see the rusty red full moon eclipse in Sagittarius. Everywhere west of the Rocky Mountains should see a total eclipse just before sunrise, Sky & Telescope senior editor Kelly Beatty says.

The eclipse will last a few hours, peaking 4:19 a.m. Pacific Time, he says.

Sorry, East Coast: People living near the Atlantic Ocean won’t catch a glimpse of this eclipse.

But Midwesterners can see a partial eclipse if the timing is right.

“Right at dawn, the moon will be setting, the sun will be rising,” he says. “And if you get up in time to see the setting moon before sunrise, you’ll see a big bite out of it, which is the last bit of the partial phase of this eclipse.”

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In Native American folklore, each full moon has a name associated with it, he says. May marks the flower moon because of the month’s signature spring bloom.

This full moon will be the closest one to the Earth all year, which earns it the name super moon, Beatty says. And the dim red, coppery color inspired the name blood moon.

“During the total eclipse, although you would think that the moon would be completely black, there’s actually a little bit of light leaking around the earth through its atmosphere,” he says. “And that light gets colored red.”

The East Coast will miss out on this lunar event — but there’s another eclipse in store later in the season. Once the moon is halfway around its orbit in two weeks, a solar eclipse will occur.

On June 10, the moon will pass between the Earth and the sun. This won’t be a total solar eclipse, like the one the U.S. witnessed in 2017.

“Because the moon will be a little bit farther than average at that point, it will cross directly in front of the sun and not quite cover it all,” Beatty says. “It will leave literally a ring of sunlight in the sky.”

People in Canada, Greenland, Siberia and the East Coast of the U.S. — especially the Northeast — should get up at sunrise to “watch this partial solar eclipse emerging above the horizon,” he says. This eclipse won’t be visible from the West Coast.

This week, the light of the full moon will brighten the night sky and make many stars less visible, he says. But keep an eye out for a brilliant star close to the horizon toward the West right after sunset.

“That’s actually the planet Venus,” he says. “It’s emerging into the evening sky for the first time in many months and it will be with us all summer long.”

 Julia Corcoran produced and edited this interview for broadcast with Todd MundtAllison Hagan adapted it for the web. 

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.