This month’s full moon, also called Flower moon of May will be the closest and largest full moon of 2021 compared to other full moons of the year, and it is tonight: a “supermoon” adorning the sky with a total lunar eclipse that makes the moon glow reddish like blood, hence it’s also called a Blood moon!
At the wee hours of Wednesday May 26 at 6.14am CDT, 7.14am EDT, 4.14am PDT, the moon will be fully illuminated in the night sky with its position at exactly earth’s opposite side from the sun, making it this year’s only total lunar eclipse. In fact, it is the very first total lunar eclipse with a supermoon in almost six years and the next one won’t occur over North America until May 2022. Now isn’t that something? As the moon will be below the horizon at this time, try to catch it the night before i.e. tonight (Tuesday, May 25) or tomorrow Wednesday night for the best view of the bright full Flower moon of May!
What is a total lunar elipse?
When the moon passes completely through the Earth’s dark shadow or the umbra, a total lunar eclipse happens. In other words, it is when the earth stands directly in between the moon and the sun, resulting in the earth casting its shadow upon the moon. And so, during a total lunar eclipse, the moon is fully obscured by earth’s shadow, giving it a bloody reddish tinge. As the moon slowly becomes darker, it appears redder, taking on the reddish hue of rust. According to NASA, this color is so striking that lunar eclipses are often called blood moons. And unlike a solar eclipse, we don’t need any kind of special glasses to view this phenomenon. Just find a spot with unobstructed view of the horizon if possible, to reminisce the lovely moon tonight.
By the way, if you are wondering why May’s full moon is called the Flower moon, it was termed by early Native Americans in recognition of the spring flowers that blossom around this same time. May’s Moon names tend to speak of the coming of spring and flower blossoms. Budding moon and Leaf Budding moon celebrate the awakening of local flora, which really begin to leaf out now in many areas. Similarly, Planting moon refers to the time when seeds should be started for the farming season ahead.
This year we have only two supermoons, the first was last month, April’s Pink moon and the second is this month, May’s Flower moon. The full moon of May 2021 is ever-so-slightly closer to the earth than it was in April, implying that May’s Flower moon is going to be the biggest and brightest full Moon of 2021 quite literally! However, to the naked eye, this month’s full moon won’t look that much bigger than last month’s as the difference in size is minuscule; the moon’s distance from earth differs by less than 100 miles between April and May which in the grand scale of things, isn’t that big of a distance, nevertheless, we should be able to spot a bright, beautiful supermoon adorning the night sky over tonight and tomorrow night!
Folklore says that the full moon is an ideal time to accept a marriage proposal! Look out for the magic moon of May then and keep your prayers ready, for mother moon listens to all. Here is my prayer:
moon o’ magic moon
tonite grant me a boon
shine your light bright
and bring to my sight
where my treasure is concealed
there my destiny is revealed