The early morning hours on Wednesday, when it’s still dark outside, would be a great opportunity to stop and stare at the moon.
The night sky is going to introduce people to a phenomenon called a Super Flower Blood Moon, described as such partly because of the red, sunset-like appearance it will have during this moment that will also serve as the first complete lunar eclipse in more than two years. Also making the sight particularly memorable is the fact that the moon will be at the closest point in its orbit to Earth, so it will appear both larger and brighter than normal — thus, the “super moon” in the descriptor. Since we’re in the month of May, following April showers that bring May flowers, that is apparently the reason for “flower” in the name, as well. So, how can you check it out?
If you don’t usually stay up late, well, unfortunately, that’s what you’ll have to do here to see this in person, since the eclipse will happen well past midnight on Tuesday and on into the early morning hours of Wednesday, depending on where you are in North America.
This site will let you plug in your location, and you can get an estimated time of when you’ll be able to see this all happen. For context, I live in the South, and we’re scheduled to begin to start seeing this unfold a little before 4 a.m. local time, according to the estimates. Meanwhile, as you can see below, there is certainly significant online and Google Search-related activity in this news:
More #SuperFlowerBloodMoon trends
"Can you look at a lunar eclipse” spiked +2,700%
“What time is lunar eclipse 2021” +400%
“What is a lunar eclipse” +160%
"Can I see the blood moon from my location" 2x, past day, US pic.twitter.com/nknJb94h7T
— GoogleTrends (@GoogleTrends) May 25, 2021
In terms of online options for watching this event, a few observatories will make livestreams available. The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, for example, will stream the event live here starting at 1:45 am Pacific Time. You can also check out this livestream link from the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, which will be available starting at 2:30 am Pacific Time, while the Astronomical Society of South Australia, the only representative body for amateur astronomy in the state of South Australia, will also broadcast live on Facebook and YouTube starting at 7 pm Australian Central Standard Time.
According to the various observatories, per Reuters, the optimal viewing time for the eclipse will happen between 4:11 am and 4:26 am Pacific Time on the US West Coast, or between 9:11 pm and 9:26 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time.
Here’s a timeline of the event, from the Griffith Observatory (in Pacific Time):
- 2:45 am — The Umbral eclipse begins (this is the first visible “bite” out of the moon)
- 4:11 am — Totality begins (the moon is totally covered in shadow)
- 4:19 am — Maximum eclipse
- 4:26 am — Totality ends (the moon emerges from shadow)
- 5:45 am — The sun rises in the east-northeast
- 5:52 am — The Umbral eclipse ends
- 5:53 am — Moon sets in the west-southwest