JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – May is giving stargazers a treat this year.
Three celestial events are happening with our Moon, NASA said. The moon will be at its fullest at 7:13 a.m. Wednesday.
What may look like a normal full moon is actually the “Flower Moon,” so-called by Native Americans as it will rise during a time when plants begin to bloom. The Flower Moon will coincide with the largest supermoon of the year, and also the first total lunar eclipse since January 2019.
Compared to other Full Moons in 2021, the Flower Moon will have the nearest approach to Earth, making it appear as the closest and largest Full Moon of the year, NASA said. This is what is commonly referred to as a “supermoon.”
This year’s only total lunar eclipse is also happening Wednesday. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes completely through the Earth’s dark shadow.
The downfall is that Jacksonville and the East Coast will not be able to witness the total lunar eclipse. So, don’t expect to see the red shade over the moon this time around.
The total eclipse phase will be visible near moonset in the western United States and Canada, all of Mexico, most of Central America and Ecuador, western Peru, and southern Chile and Argentina, NASA said. The eclipse can be seen in its entirety in eastern Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands, including Hawaii.
The eclipse is set to begin at 1:46 a.m. PDT Wednesday (corrected to 4:46 a.m. Wednesday for Jacksonville). Our sunrise will greatly interfere with the viewing as twilight conditions will begin about 5:30 a.m. just as the Moon will be entering the darkest part of the Earth’s shadow.
We haven’t had a total lunar eclipse occur with a supermoon in almost six years, and the next total lunar eclipse won’t happen over North America until May 2022.
HOW TO WATCH: There will be several free webcasts showing live views of the eclipse online: (Space.com)
The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles plans to stream live views of the Super Flower Blood Moon on Wednesday beginning at 4:45 a.m. EDT.
The Lowell Observatory — where the dwarf planet Pluto was famously discovered — will also broadcast live views of the eclipse from multiple telescopes at its facility in Flagstaff, Arizona. Starts at 5:30 a.m. EDT.
The Virtual Telescope Project will stream two live broadcasts of the big lunar event: one for the eclipse and another for the supermoon. First, on Wednesday (May 26), the Virtual Telescope will webcast live views of the lunar eclipse, beginning at 6 a.m. EDT.
Time and Date will also provide a live webcast of the Super Flower Blood Moon, beginning at 5:30 a.m. EDT.