The phenomenon occurs when a total lunar eclipse coincides with the moon being at the closest point to the Earth.
Astronauts from Asia Pacific and the Americas will have a rare opportunity on Wednesday to observe a “super flower blood moon” (a huge orange-red moon) that astronomers say will be a spectacle every decade.
The supermoon is the result of the first total lunar eclipse in more than two years to occur at the same time as the moon is closest to Earth.
The eclipse will begin at 08:47 GMT and the moon is expected to be fully in the shadow of the Earth between 11:11 and 11:26 GMT, in the evening in Asia Pacific and before dawn in the Americas.
The moon will darken and turn red – the result of sunlight being refracted through the Earth’s atmosphere. Experts say the color varies with each eclipse and the more dust or clouds there are in the Earth’s atmosphere, the redder the moon will appear.
Unlike a solar eclipse, the phenomenon will be visible with the naked eye.
During a Super Moon, the moon is closest to Earth, at a distance of only 360,000 kilometers (225,000 miles).
At this point, it may appear 30 percent brighter and 14 percent larger than at its farthest point, an approximate difference of 50,000 kilometers (30,000 miles).
🌓🌏🌞 Supermoon + total lunar eclipse? It’s show time.
Tomorrow, in the hours before dawn, the Moon will pass through the shadow of the Earth. If you live in Southeast Asia, Polynesia, western USA or Central and South America, set alarms. Map and details: https://t.co/3vvbhoyLBL pic.twitter.com/ow7W4eaflj
– NASA (@NASA) May 25, 2021
The full moon of May is known as the Moon of Flowers, as it occurs when they bloom in spring.
“Interest has been high,” Andrew Jacobs, astronomy curator at the Sydney Observatory, told AFP news agency.
Jacobs organizes a COVID-19 safe viewing event with expert telescopes and speakers. “I’m waiting for a clear night.” The event will also be broadcast live and 20,000 users have already registered.
For those who want to see the event in person, Jacobs predicted that the best view will be in “Australia, New Zealand and large parts of the Pacific. New Guinea also has a good view.”
“The Americas see it early in the morning, but they don’t necessarily see all parts of the eclipse,” he said.
According to NASA’s Bill Cooke: “People in Hawaii and the Aleutian Islands will be able to see the entirety of this eclipse; it will be a spectacle for them.”
The next Super Blood Moon is expected to take place in 2033.