Neil deGrasse Tyson discusses the Blood Moon eclipse in 2014
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A lunar eclipse will begin today at 11.52am BST across Antarctica, Australia, Asia, North and South America. As the Moon begins to emerge from the shadow of Earth, around half an hour later, it will take on a red hue. This is due to an effect known as Rayleigh Scattering.
This phenomenon is caused by Earth’s atmosphere filtering out bands of green and violet light during an eclipse leaving just a red glow.
May’s Full Moon is known as a Flower Moon, which will also be a Supermoon.
The Supermoon will be visible worldwide.
NASA said: “Compared to other Full Moons in 2021, the Flower Moon will have the nearest approach to Earth, making it appear as the closest and largest Full Moon of the year.
“This is what is commonly referred to as a ‘supermoon’. Yet, it’s not just bringing brightness and size.
“May’s supermoon is also bringing a ‘super power’ to change its colour, and the colour is red!
“Mars is most commonly known as the Red Planet. But have you ever witnessed our own planet’s Moon turn red?
“If you haven’t, you’ll get your chance with this year’s only total lunar eclipse also happening May 26! It’s been nearly two and a half years since the last one.
“A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes completely through the Earth’s dark shadow, or umbra.
“During this type of eclipse, the Moon will gradually get darker, taking on a rusty or blood-red colour.
“The colour is so striking that lunar eclipses are sometimes called Blood Moons.”
May’s full Moon has several names, all of which connect it to the fact it signifies spring.
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These names are “flower moon”, “corn planting moon” or “milk moon” although the first is the most common.
NASA said on its website: “Going by the seasons, as the second full Moon of spring, the Native American tribes of the northeastern United States called this the Flower Moon, as flowers are abundant this time of year in most of these areas.”
According to the Old Farmers’ Almanac, Native American tribes endowed each full Moon with a name which represents the season or time of the year.
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