The first total lunar eclipse of 2021 will take place near the end of May, and it could be an impressive one.
Not only will the eclipse, which will happen on May 26, be a “blood moon,” but also it will happen when the moon makes one of its closest approaches to the Earth all year. A total lunar eclipse happens when Earth passes between a full moon and the sun.
The term blood moon comes from the eclipsed moon’s reddish appearance caused by the light from the Earth’s sunrise and sunset falling on the surface of the moon.
“During a total lunar eclipse, the Earth blocks the Sun’s light from reaching the Moon.
“While the Moon remains completely within Earth’s umbral shadow, indirect sunlight still manages to reach and illuminate it. However, this sunlight must first pass deep through the Earth’s atmosphere which filters out most of the blue colored light.
“The remaining light is a deep red or orange in color and is much dimmer than pure white sunlight. Earth’s atmosphere also bends or refracts some of this light so that a small fraction of it can reach and illuminate the Moon.”
The moon can take on a range of colors from dark brown and red to bright orange and yellow, the website explains. The exact appearance depends on how much dust and clouds are present in Earth’s atmosphere.
The eclipse should be able to be seen in eastern Asia, Australia, the Pacific region and North and South America.
The blood moon total eclipse will be the first one since Jan. 21, 2019.
The eclipse will be visible to people in South and East Asia, Australia, most of North America, South America, the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Ocean and Antarctica.
The eclipse will be at its peak at around 6:31 a.m. EST.