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Total lunar eclipse 2021: how to view the ‘Super Flower Blood Moon’



nasa40 bloodmoon

A NASA image of a ruddy red “blood moon”.

NASA

The moon will blind this week when a total lunar eclipse turns our celestial neighbor a rusty red. Those living in Africa and Europe won̵

7;t see the “super-flowered blood moon” light up the night, but live streams will allow the celestial festivities of May 26 to be seen around the world.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon moves in the shadow of the Earth, blocking sunlight. Unlike a solar eclipse, you can look directly at the moon with the naked eye.

There are reasons for this total lunar eclipse’s exotic-sounding nicknames. Total lunar eclipses tend to give the moon a reddish hue. That’s the “blood” part. The Farmers Almanac assigns different nicknames to full moons each month. The May moon is typically referred to as the “flower moon.” This moon will also be closest to Earth on its elliptical path, making it appear a bit brighter and larger than usual. That’s the “super moon” part.

As for how red the moon will look, it depends on what is happening above us. “The more dust or clouds in Earth’s atmosphere during the eclipse, the redder the moon will appear,” NASA said in an eclipse Q&A.

NASA says the eclipse will be visible in parts of America, Australia, New Zealand and East Asia. Residents of Hawaii and Alaska should have a great viewing opportunity, but much of the western US will be in position for the show.

Timeanddate.com’s viewing guide allows you to set the time for your location and see how much of the eclipse you can see. For example, the total solar eclipse will be at its maximum in New Mexico on Wednesday, May 26 at 5:18 a.m. local time. You can just go out and have a look, but it’s nice to use a telescope or binoculars for a closer look.

If you just can’t wait, check out NASA’s handy “Dial-A-Moon” visualization showing what the eclipse will look like from start to finish.

You don’t have to be in a prime zone to catch the action. The Virtual Telescope Project will provide a live feed on May 26 at 3am PT.

Timeanddate.com is hosting its own global streaming event in partnership with astronomers in Australia, Hawaii, California and Arizona. The feed starts around 2:30 a.m. PT.

And if you plan on sleeping through the eclipse (or if the clouds aren’t cooperating), you can always catch the recurrence later. For more information on how eclipses work and the best ways to view them, check out our guide to solar and lunar eclipse.

Follow CNET’s 2021 Space Calendar to keep up with the latest space travel news this year. You can even add it to your own Google calendar.


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