FIU@Home: Discover the Super Flower Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse

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The solar system and our planet keep a very structured schedule. From our rising and setting sun to the change of seasons throughout the year, there is a structured schedule of routine events that occur. But we can also predict unique astronomical phenomena. Enter the extra special May 26 supermoon.

WHAT MAKES THIS MOON SO ‘SUPER’?
When a supermoon occurs, the moon is traveling closest to our planet — a moment called perigee. The closer proximity makes the moon look significantly larger than it normally does when peering into the night sky.

MAY’S SUPER FLOWER BLOOD MOON LUNAR ECLIPSE
Multiple phenomena can occur at the same time. This May is particularly exciting because it’s not just super but also a flower and blood moon. Native Americans first named the flower moon because it heralded the height of spring. The name was also adopted by both early colonial Americans as well as Europeans. Blood comes from the reddish color the moon gets as red-orange light is refracted through the Earth’s atmosphere. This phenomenon is heightened by clouds — what we’d consider an obstruction to other star-gazing).

There will also be a total lunar eclipse. These happen generally once a year. When a lunar eclipse occurs, the Earth’s shadow obstructs the sun’s light, which would normally be reflected off the moon. This year’s lunar eclipse happens to coincide with the supermoon, flower and blood moons.  

There will also be a total lunar eclipse. These happen generally once a year. When a lunar eclipse occurs, the Earth’s shadow obstructs the sun’s light, which would normally be reflected off the moon. This year’s lunar eclipse happens to coincide with the supermoon, flower and blood moons.  

VIEWING TIPS
All you need are your eyes to see things unfold May 26. Astronomers and space scientists do encourage you to use a telescope if you’d like an even closer look Binoculars work well, too. The Old Farmer’s Almanac lets you input your location and gives you the ideal time to look for the moon.

Space.com has a curated list of observatories around the world that are streaming these phenomena.

Where you are also determines what you’ll see. Most people will be able to see the supermoon. People who live in the Western U.S. will see a supermoon, while people who in Central and South American will see either a blood moon or lunar eclipse.

DID YOU KNOW?
Stay tuned for the next round of Star Parties hosted by FIU’s Stocker AstroScience Center, where you’ll be able to see interesting phenomena through South Florida’s only research-grade telescope. 

With South Florida’s only research-grade telescope, the Stocker AstroScience Center provides stunning views of stars clusters, galaxies, planets, moons and more. Follow FIU@Home for more self-guided journeys through the universe.

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