OVERHEAD (WHTM) — If you look up very late Sunday night, or very early Monday morning, you’ll be able to see two celestial spectaculars happening at once.
That is if the weather co-operates…
May’s full moon, the “Full Flower Moon”, is also known (according to Farmer’s Almanac) as Budding Moon, Egg Laying Moon, Frog Moon, Leaf Budding Moon, Planting Moon, and Moon of Shedding Ponies. This year it’s a supermoon; the Moon will be at the point in its orbit when it’s closest to Earth, so it will be as big and bright as it can get.
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And then, late on Sunday, it will start turning red.
This weekend is one of only two lunar eclipses this year. They happen when Sun, Earth, and Moon line up, so that the shadow of the Earth covers the Moon. Depending on where you’re located on the planet, you may either not see the eclipse at all, see a partial eclipse, where the Earth’s shadow covers only part of the Moon, or a total eclipse when the shadow covers the Moon completely. This time around, the total eclipse will be visible over most of North America.
The total eclipse is when the Moon turns red, and becomes what’s known as a “Blood Moon”. Why red? Why doesn’t it just turn totally dark and disappear for a while? Because believe it or not, the Earth casts a red shadow. The Earth’s atmosphere bends, or refracts, light, particularly in the red and yellow part of the spectrum. (This refraction is why rising and setting suns and moons look bigger and redder than when they’re higher up in the sky.) Enough red light gets around the globe to give the moon its reddish hue during an eclipse. (Unlike a solar eclipse, you can look directly at a lunar eclipse without damaging your eyes.)
The lunar eclipse will begin on Sunday, May 15 around 10:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The peak viewing time for the Blood Moon phase will be about 12:11 a.m. EDT Monday, May 16, and the eclipse will end at about 1:15 a.m. EDT.
Unfortunately, the viewing weather for the Midstate doesn’t look too promising. According to abc27 meteorologist Brett Thackara, the forecast calls for showers and possible thunderstorms to roll through Sunday afternoon and evening.
So what can you do if the eclipse gets rained out? Well, there are some sites on the internet where the eclipse will be live-streamed:
And if you do manage to get a picture of the blood moon, we’d like to see it! Send your pictures to email@example.com.