Lancashire Times
A Voice of the North
Jan Harris
Assistant Editor
9:14 PM 24th May 2021

Will You See The Super Flower Blood Moon?

Blood moon - Image by Jürgen Treiber from Pixabay
Blood moon - Image by Jürgen Treiber from Pixabay
The Full Moon of May will reach its peak on Wednesday 26 May around 11.32pm, but it will actually be visible in the night sky for around three days.

We are in for a treat this month as the full moon will be the third of four supermoons. It will be big and bright with an orange-gold hue and is the only total lunar eclipse of 2021 and will take place in some parts of the world but probably not visible in the UK.

Every month of the year there is a full moon which illuminates the sky each month and all are given a different name. Full moons occur when the moon is on the opposite side of the earth to the sun.

Different types of moons
Blue Moon – when a full moon occurs twice in the same month
Harvest Moon – this is around the autumnal equinox when farmers do most of their harvesting
Supermoon – Supermoons are said to appear 14% bigger and 30% brighter than usual.
Blood Moon – occurs during a total lunar eclipse

Why Flower Moon?
It is known as Flower Moon to signify the abundance of flowers that bloom during this month.

Other names for May's brightest Moon are Corn Planting Moon, Mother's Moon, and Milk Moon, this was because cows were milked three times a day. Some sources also refer to it as Hare Moon.

The May full moon marked a time of increasing fertility, with temperatures warm enough for safely bearing young, a near end to late frosts, and plants in bloom.

Eclipse Dates - 2021 – unfortunately not always visible in the UK
26 May - Total lunar eclipse
10 June - Annual solar eclipse
19 November – Partial lunar eclipse
3 December - Total solar eclipse

Blood moon eclipse - Image by Jean van der Meulen from Pixabay
Blood moon eclipse - Image by Jean van der Meulen from Pixabay
What is an eclipse?
Solar eclipse – the moon passes in front of the Sun partially or entirely blocking out light
Lunar eclipse – full moon enters shadow of Earth cutting off the light

Total lunar eclipse
When the moon moves into the Earth’s shadow a total lunar eclipse occurs, otherwise known as a blood moon.

The last total lunar eclipse in the UK graced our skies on 21 January 2019. This was a full moon and a supermoon which lasted 5 hours, 11 minutes and 33 seconds. The UK misses out this month as the total lunar eclipse will only be visible in western North America, western South America, eastern Asia and Oceania.

The next total lunar eclipse is scheduled to take place on 16 May 2022 in the UK, but a partial lunar eclipse will grace our skies on 18 November 2021.

Supermoon - Image by christoph1703 from Pixabay
Supermoon - Image by christoph1703 from Pixabay
What is a Supermoon?
A supermoon is when you look up at the night sky and the full moon looks so close you feel as if you could almost touch it, although sometimes the difference is hard to spot with the naked eye.

This is called a moon illusion as the full moon appears much larger when it rises behind a distant object on the horizon.

When the moon is closest to the earth a supermoon occurs. A supermoon will appear 14% larger and 30% brighter than usual. A supermoon looks especially large when rising and setting.

The moon will be 30,000 miles closer than usual. It sounds a lot, but the average distance between the earth and moon is 238,900 miles, so it’s not that huge a difference.

If you go outside on the night of a full supermoon you should actually notice that it is exceptionally bright.

According to the US space agency the term supermoon was first coined back in 1979 and is now quite commonly used.

Supermoons in 2021
28 March – Super Worm Moon
27 April – Super Pink Moon
26 May – Super Flower Moon
24 June – Super Strawberry Moon

Full Moons in 2021
Supermoon - credit  Rob Harris
Supermoon - credit Rob Harris
Wolf Moon - January 28
Snow Moon - February 27
Worm Moon - March 28
Pink Moon - April 27
Flower Moon - May 26
Strawberry Moon - June 24
Buck Moon - July 24
Sturgeon Moon - August 22
Harvest Moon - September 20
Hunter's Moon - October 20
Beaver Moon - November 19
Cold Moon - December 19

The names given to the full moons during the year are derived from the North American traditions. Many of these ancient moon names have been given based on the behaviour of the plants, animals, or weather during that month.

It is said that they were the names given by Native American tribes and included into our modern calendar. However the full moon names we now use also have Anglo-Saxon and Germanic roots.

The supermoon of May is set to be bigger and brighter than usual so let's hope the sky stays clear this week so we can get a clear view of the supermoon.

The next full moon will rise on Thursday 24 June and is the Super Strawberry Moon.