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What to know about this week's super flower blood moon and lunar eclipse

Posted at 11:55 AM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 13:09:58-04

EAST LANSING, Mich. — If you look up early Wednesday morning, you could catch a glimpse of a rare astronomical phenomenon.

Due to an overlapping of multiple lunar events, experts say the full moon on May 26 will be what's known as a super flower blood moon.

“It's a reason to go outside and go look at the moon, I think I think that's what it always is, is it there's, there's always a good reason to go outside and see what's going on,” Director of the Abrams Planetarium at MSU Dr. Shannon Schmoll said.

Supermoon Eclipse

That’s a mouthful, but when you break it down by each lunar event it starts to make more sense.

First, this full moon is considered a super moon because it will appear brighter and larger than usual in the sky due to its position in orbit around Earth.

“When a full moon corresponds to being very close to that closest point, that is called the Super Moon, because it's a little bit closer to us. So, it looks a little bit bigger and a little bit brighter,” Schmoll said.

Second, it’s being called a flower moon since it is a full moon in the month of May. This full moon was named the “flower moon” by Native American tribes because may was the time of year when spring flowers were abundant, according to NASA.

Full moon

Lastly, experts say the moon will get a reddish tint from the lunar eclipse that will allow sunlight to filter through the Earth’s atmosphere.

“During the lunar eclipse, the moon is passing into the Earth's shadow completely. And so it's directly behind the earth, but there's still some sunlight that makes it through to the moon. And so some of that light will get sort of bent and refracted by the Earth's atmosphere,” Schmoll said

Combining all of those elements, we get the chance to catch a rare mix of astronomical phenomena in this super flower blood moon.

When to see the supermoon and eclipse

Here in mid-Michigan, you can watch the beginning of the eclipse around 4:45 a.m. It's expected to last about 15 minutes.

“So, the best place to go look for it is starting around 445 in the morning,” Schmoll said. “I generally recommend getting up on the top of parking structures, because you can have a better view of the horizon there. But anywhere that has that clear view of the horizon is going to be great.“

Lunar Eclipse
The Super Blood Wolf Moon eclipse is seen Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, in Valrico, Fla. The eclipse takes place when the full moon is at or near the closest point in its orbit to Earth, a time popularly known as a supermoon. This means the Moon is deeper inside the umbra shadow and therefore may appear darker. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Don't worry if 4:45 a.m. sounds a little too early. Here are a few places you can find a stream of the eclipse:

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