Don’t miss the “Super Blood Moon” eclipse on May 26 Children’s press article

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The May 26, 2021 total lunar eclipse will coincide with a super moon (Credit: Dimitri Biemond / CC-By-SA-2.0 / via Wikimedia Commons)

While total lunar eclipses are still spectacular, that of May 26, 2021, promises to be particularly memorable given that it coincides with a super moon. This means that the Moon – which will be at perigee, or its closest distance from Earth – will appear about 7% larger and 15% brighter than a standard Full Moon. The eclipse will be the most visible western regions of the Americas, Australia and New Zealand, and East Asia. In the United States, the best views will be reserved for Hawaii, Alaska, and the Western States.

During a total lunar eclipse, Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon (Credit: cehhs.utk.edu)

For a total lunar eclipse to occur, two conditions must be met: the Moon must be full and in perfect condition. alignment with the Earth and the Sun. Lunar eclipses do not occur every full moon because the plane of our satellite’s orbit is slightly inclined to that of the Earth, and therefore not always in a straight line.

As you probably know, the Moon doesn’t produce any light on its own – it just reflects light from the Sun. Therefore, when our planet is between the two celestial objects, it creates a shadow on the lunar surface. However, instead of darkening, our satellite turns into what is commonly referred to as a “blood moon”. Although considered a bad presage by some, the spooky color is caused by the sun’s rays bending around the edge of our planet and landing on the moon. Since the Earth’s atmosphere diffuses the shortest wave length colors, like green or blue, only the longest wavelengths – or the redder end of the spectrum – reach the lunar surface, giving it a sinister “blood red” appearance.

“The exact color the moon appears depends on the amount of dust and clouds in the atmosphere,” NASA scientists said Espace.com. “If there are additional particles in the atmosphere, say a recent volcano eruption, the moon will appear in a darker shade of red.

Unlike a solar eclipse, which can only be seen from specific regions, a lunar eclipse is visible from anywhere on the night side of Earth. It can also be viewed without protective glasses. While totality typically lasts around 15 minutes, it usually takes a few hours for the Moon to emerge from Earth’s shadow, offering viewers ample time to enjoy the event.

A map showing where the May 26, 2021 lunar eclipse is visible. The contours mark the edge of the visibility region at times of eclipse contact (Credit: Svs.gsfc.nasa.gov)

This year’s show will begin early in the morning at 5:45 a.m. EDT (2:45 a.m. PDT) when Earth’s shadow begins to cross the Moon’s front. The “blood moon” will occur from 7:11 a.m. EDT (4:11 a.m. PDT) to 7:26 a.m. EDT (4:26 a.m. PDT), when Earth completely blocks the Sun’s satellite. As our planet moves forward, the satellite will gradually begin to receive the Sun’s rays, and at 8:52 a.m. EDT (5:52 a.m. PDT), the super moon will be restored in all its glory.

While US residents will have to get up early to attend the event, it may be worth losing some sleep, given that this will be the first and only total lunar eclipse of 2021. The Cosmic phenomenon will not happen again until May 15, 2022!

Resources: JPL / NASA.Gov, Earthsky.org, Cnet.com


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