If you didn’t catch the super flower blood moon, here’s what you missed

The Moon as seen over Santa Monica, California on May 26, 2021 during the “Super Blood Moon” total eclipse. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Maybe the sky was cloudy; maybe waking up in the middle of the night to look at the moon just sounds like lunacy. Whatever the reason, if you missed seeing the lunar eclipse early Wednesday, you’re not alone.

Luckily, there are plenty of photos and video of the rare sight of the super flower blood moon.


People on both sides of the Pacific Ocean were able to see the total eclipse, from the Western U.S. and Mexico to New Zealand and eastern Australia. Some of the best views were in Hawaii and the Pacific islands.

The biggest draw of this celestial event is that a supermoon and a total lunar eclipse are occurring simultaneously. In the past 10 years, there have been just 10 total lunar eclipses.

A lunar eclipse is observed during dawn in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, May 26, 2021. Wednesday’s eclipse is the first in more than two years and coincides with a supermoon. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

The supermoon was visible all over the world, but the full lunar eclipse was visible in many parts of the world. Observers had to look fast; the total eclipse lasted around 15 minutes.

The unusual name for this moon is due to several astronomical phenomena coinciding in one event.

“Blood”: The moon takes on a red hue as it aligns with the sun and Earth and passes fully into Earth’s shadow, or umbra. The distinct bloodlike color is caused by red-orange light refracted through the Earth’s atmosphere. The red hue can appear more intense if more clouds or dust are in the Earth’s atmosphere, according to NASA.

A surfer rides a wave as a super blood moon rises above the horizon at Manly Beach on May 26, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

“Super”: The shape of the moon’s orbit around the Earth is not a perfect circle, but an oval. When a full moon reaches the point closest to our planet on its elliptical orbit, it’s called a supermoon, or perigee-syzygy, and appears larger than usual in the sky. Supermoons are more common than total eclipses — they typically occur several times a year.

The moon rises over the Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong, Wednesday, May 26, 2021. The first total lunar eclipse in more than two years coincides with a supermoon this week for quite a cosmic show. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

“Flower”: Full moons that occur in May are sometimes known as flower moons. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the name is a reference to the flowers that are blooming in May and has been attributed to Native American, Colonial American and European sources.

Photographers take photos of a lunar eclipse at the Central TV Tower in Beijing, Wednesday, May 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

The next total lunar eclipse will occur about a year from now. But a near-total eclipse will come on the night of Nov. 18 to 19, says Diana Hannikainen, observing editor at Sky & Telescope.

The lunar eclipse progresses is seen behind a ferris wheel over Santa Monica Beach in Santa Monica, Calif., Wednesday, May 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

“Technically, the November event will be partial, but only the thinnest sliver of the moon’s disk will remain outside the umbra, so for all intents and purposes it’ll be very much like a total eclipse,” she said.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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