During the evening hours of May 15, the Earth will cast its shadow over the moon creating a ‘Super Flower Blood Moon’ total lunar eclipse which will peak May 16 at 12:11 a.m. EDT.
According to Time and Date, the partial lunar eclipse will start at 10:27 pm (EDT) with totality expected to last for a duration of nearly 90 minutes on Sunday night beginning at 11:29 pm and lasting until just after midnight at 12:53 am.
While a ‘Super Flower Blood Moon’ total lunar eclipse is a mouthful, all it really means is that a super moon and a total lunar eclipse will occur simultaneously.
A super moon is a celestial event that describes the moon at its closest proximity to the Earth on its orbit (or reaches “perigee”). As a result, the moon appears to be bigger and brighter than usual.
A total lunar eclipse, on the other hand, happens when the moon moves through the Earth’s umbra (central shadow) which consequently makes it appear dimmer with a coppery red tint.
The May moon’s moniker is derived from the abundance of flowers during spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the red color caused by the refraction of light passing through the Earth’s atmosphere. And when you put it all together you have the ‘Super Flower Blood Moon’.
During a total lunar eclipse, the only light reflecting onto the moon is coming through the Earth’s atmosphere. Thus, the light from all the sunrises and sunsets in the world are “projected” onto the Moon, causing it to appear red, according to NASA.
A total lunar eclipse has 7 phases as it moves through the Earth’s umbra and penumbra. It starts and ends with a penumbral eclipse which is when the moon moves into the Earth’s outer shadows. Then a partial eclipse happens when the moon moves into the umbra and out of the umbra.
A total lunar eclipse happens when the moon is completely within the umbra and this is the phase that can be seen with the naked eye. A maximum eclipse is when the moon is slap-bang in the middle of the umbra.
Time and Date will be running a live stream of the event for the duration of the eclipse.