Wednesday, May 26, 2021 will be a total lunar eclipse — when the shadow of the Earth will completely cover the Moon. In addition to the lunar eclipse, it will be a supermoon that night. NASA defines a supermoon as “When the Moon is at or near its closest point to Earth at the same time as it is full, it is called a ‘supermoon.'” The Moon’s orbit is not a perfect circle. When the moon is at the closest part of its orbit, it is at perogee, When the moon is at its furthest point, it is at apogee.
May 26 will be the Super Blood Moon. This has nothing to do with Transylvania. The Moon will appear larger than usual because it is at perogee and red. It is also called the flower moon because it is Spring in the northern hemisphere.
Why will the Moon look red?
“Sunlight bends and scatters as it passes through Earth’s atmosphere. In air, colors at the blue and violet end of the rainbow scatter more widely than colors like red and orange. Widely scattered blue light tints the sky when the Sun is overhead on clear days. Redder light travels a straighter path through the air; we only see it scattered throughout the sky around sunrise and sunset, when sunlight has traveled through a thick slice of Earth’s atmosphere before reaching our eyes.
“During a lunar eclipse, some of this heavily filtered morning and evening light makes it all the way through Earth’s atmosphere and eventually reaches the lunar surface. The eclipsed Moon is dimly illuminated by red-orange light left over from all of the sunsets and sunrises occurring around the world at that time. The more dust or clouds in Earth’s atmosphere during the eclipse, the redder the Moon will appear.”
Astronomers have known about blood moons since ancient days, back when astrology was the most important part of what is now the science of astronomy. A blood red moon is mentioned in the Bible, in Joel 2: 31. In ancient times blood moons were considered a harbringer of disaster and divine retribution.
For best viewing, check this eclipse map at timeanddate.com. In Los Angeles, CA, the total lunar eclipse should be visible, if the sky is not cloudy. In Memphis, TN, only a partial eclipse will be visible. In Edinburgh, Scotland, unfortunately, the lunar eclipse will not be visible, nor will it be visible in Johannesburg, South Africa.
If the lunar eclipse is visible in your area, will you be stepping outside to look up at the sky?
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.