What's in store for the moon this week.Bernd Thaller/CC BY 2.0/Flickr Creative Commons
Keep your eye on the darkened skies this week, when a pair of cosmic spectacles involving the moon will be visible over Arizona and elsewhere in the western United States. A total lunar eclipse will take place just before dawn on the morning of Wednesday, May 26, and will coincide with the latest supermoon.
It’s an astronomical twofer that’s collectively known as a “Super Flower Blood Moon” that’s somewhat rare (this is the first lunar eclipse visible from Arizona since 2018), will unfold over the next two days, and is worth checking out.
Even better, you can see it without needing to break out a telescope or some binoculars.
Here’s a rundown of all the details about when to see both cosmic phenomena unfold over Arizona.
It’s caused when the full moon is closer to the Earth than normal, which causes it to appear larger and brighter in the sky than normal. It will happen on Wednesday night after the moon rises in the eastern/southeastern sky at approximately 8:10 p.m.
The moon will also appear almost as large and bright on the evenings of Tuesday, May 25 (when it will be 99 percent full and rise at 6:55 p.m.) and Thursday, May 27 (when will rise at 9:22 p.m.)
Why Is It Called A “Super Flower Blood Moon” Anyway?
Allow us to break it down like a fraction: According to the Farmers’ Almanac, any full moon during May is called a “Flower Moon” because of the copious amounts of blossoms that occur this month. The “super” part is due to the fact it’s a supermoon and the “blood” portion of the moniker comes from the fact it's coinciding with a lunar eclipse (which causes the moon to have a reddish appearance).
When Will the Total Lunar Eclipse Be Visible Over Arizona?
It’s set to take place in the early morning hours on Wednesday. The eclipse will begin at 1:47 a.m. and unfold over approximately four hours, reaching totality at 4:18 a.m. and ending at 5:29 a.m. as the sun rises.
Where Should I Look In the Sky?
According to astronomers, the moon will appear in the western-southwestern sky anywhere from 31 degrees (at the start of the eclipse) to approximately 13 degrees (during totality) above the horizon. Although you should be able to see it above most trees or houses, you might want to find a clear stretch of the open sky just in case.
What Will the Weather Be Like?
The current forecast calls for mostly clear skies from Tuesday through Thursday, so (unlike last month’s supermoon) there probably won’t be any clouds blocking your view.
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