A super “blood moon” grabbed the attention of viewers around the world on Wednesday.
While on Tuesday it appeared as a shimmering full moon – the closest to Earth sky-watchers can see – the next morning, the moon appeared tinged with a reddish glow.
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According to NASA, the blood moon occurs during a total lunar eclipse when the Earth aligns between the moon and the sun.
“When this happens, the only light that reaches the moon’s surface comes from the edges of the Earth’s atmosphere. Air molecules in Earth’s atmosphere scatter most of the blue light. The remaining light reflects off the moon’s surface with a red glow, which makes the moon appear red in the night sky, ”the agency explained on its website.
Notably, this blood moon is a combination of the full moon of May flowers – which is classified as a super moon – and a total lunar eclipse.
A super moon, also known as a perigee full moon, occurs when the side of the moon facing Earth is fully illuminated by the sun and is at the closest point in its orbit around Earth.
While the blood super moon and its total eclipse phase are clearly visible over eastern Asia, the Pacific Ocean, and parts of the western United States, most of the east coast and central United States receives the short end of the stick because the moon is below the horizon at the time of the complete eclipse.
In a blog post posted Monday, Gordon Johnston of NASA said that while East Coast viewers would witness only the “barely detectable start of the eclipse at moonset”, Americans are fortunate to have both a clear sky and a clear view of the horizon. would be able to truly understand their place in the roster.
“You can see the sunrise and then rotate 180 degrees to see the curved shadow of the round Earth starting to fall over the edge of the moon as the moon sets,” he said.
The super moon would pass through Earth’s full shadow – also known as shadow – around 5:45 a.m. ET.
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The entire lunar eclipse of the Blood Moon would last about 14 minutes and 30 seconds and the moon.
After the eclipse, the event repeats in the opposite direction as the moon emerges from Earth’s shadow.
According to Johnston, the next full moon would appear opposite the sun in Earth longitude at 7:14 a.m.ET.
The moon is expected to appear full until Thursday morning.
Forbes explained that the name Flower Moon indicates that just nine hours before it becomes fully illuminated, the moon will reach its closest point to Earth – or perigee – for the year.
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The Flower Moon gets its name from the abundance of flowers that emerge in late spring.
The next super moon – the super “Strawberry Moon” will be visible on the East Coast on June 24 and three more eclipses are planned before 2022.
However, the next total lunar eclipse will not occur over North America until May 2022.