A super “Blood Moon” is set to enthrall sky-gazers in the Western U.S. this week.
Early Wednesday morning, the Blood Moon – named for its red glow – will be visible from North America.
“When this happens, the only light that reaches the moon’s surface is from the edges of the Earth’s atmosphere. The air molecules from Earth’s atmosphere scatter out most of the blue light. The remaining light reflects onto the moon’s surface with a red glow, making the moon appear red in the night sky,” the agency explained on its website.
Notably, this Blood Moon will be a combination of May’s full Flower Moon – which is classified as a supermoon – and a total lunar eclipse.
A supermoon, also known as a perigean full moon, occurs when the side of the moon facing Earth is fully illuminated by the sun and is at the closest point in its orbit around Earth.
While the super Blood Moon will be visible over eastern Asia, the Pacific Ocean and the western U.S., most of the East Coast and central U.S. will get the short end of the stick as the moon will be below the horizon at the time of the full eclipse.
Only the Pacific Rim will see the eclipse reach “totality” at 11:11 to 11:25 UTC, but the entire world will see a supermoon, according to Forbes.
East Coast viewers can plan to see the supermoon starting at 4:38 a.m. ET, with the moon passing through the full shadow of the Earth – or umbra – at 5:45 a.m. ET, NASA’s Gordon Johnston said in a blog post on Monday.
The totality of the Blood Moon lunar eclipse will last for around 14 minutes and 30 seconds and the moon will set at 5:51 a.m. ET.
Following the eclipse, the event repeats in reverse as the moon moves out of Earth’s shadow.
The next full moon will appear opposite the sun in Earth-based longitude at 7:14 a.m. ET.
The moon will appear full through Thursday morning.
Forbes explained that the name Flower Moon indicates that just nine hours before becoming fully illuminated, the moon will reach its closest point to the Earth – or perigee – for the year.
The Flower Moon is named after the abundance of flowers that emerges in late spring.