Lunar eclipse: ‘Super blood flower moon’ to be visible tonight

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Old Farmer’s Almanac, this weekend will bring a super blood flower moon, visible Sunday night into Monday morning.

Unfortunately, stormy weekend weather may obscure the moon in the Miami Valley, but if you can’t see the moon outside, NASA will livestream the total lunar eclipse on its YouTube page, with the moon fully entering the Earth’s shadow at about 11:29 p.m.

ExploreAir Force museum marks 50th anniversary of Apollo 15 mission

But what does that name mean?

Super moon

A “super moon” refers to the fact that the moon’s orbit isn’t a perfect circle – it’s an ellipse. NASA said that when there is a full moon when it is near its closest point to the Earth in its orbit, it appears slightly larger than a regular full moon, giving it the name “super moon.”

Unfortunately, it also said the differences are not really visible to our own eyes.

Blood moon

A “blood moon” is actually not an astronomy term, the almanac said. Instead, it is a popular phrase for a total lunar eclipse, so called because the moon takes on a brown or reddish glow.

This happens because some sunlight does reach the moon, but it is bent and filtered by the Earth’s atmosphere, giving it a brown or reddish color, according to NASA. The exact color depends on the “sooty-ness” of the atmosphere, including among other things how recently volcanoes have erupted, how many clouds there are and how much pollution there is around the globe.

Flower moon

“Flower moon” is also not an astronomical term. Instead, the Old Farmer’s Almanac attributed the name to the Algonquin peoples, and said that it refers to the flowers opening across North America this month.

The almanac added that the name traditionally applies to the entire month, not just the full moon.

About the Author