This Sunday night, Ontarians will get a special treat as they will be able to look up to the sky and see a super flower blood moon lunar eclipse.
Global News spoke with Orbax Thomas, a lecturer at the University of Guelph, to help stargazers get ready for the big show.
What is a super flower blood moon lunar eclipse?
Thomas said that the earth will move between the moon and the sun on Sunday night which will cause the earth to create a shadow on the moon.
“During the totality of the eclipse, it actually bends the light that’s coming around the earth so that it sprays blue light out to the edges and red light kind of goes towards the center, and it gives the moon this eerie red glow to it,” he explained.
“So, when you have a lunar eclipse, that’s why they’re often called blood moons. They have this weird, eerie redness to them.”
He said the floral portion of the eclipse’s name stems from the time of the year. This is when plants are budding and in the fall, when we will next get another lunar eclipse, it will be deemed a beaver eclipse as it is when the furry creatures are preparing for winter.
“It’s funny, a lot of these names are taken from the old farmer’s almanacs where they name them but, you know, every culture has its own names for what the full moon represents. And a lot of Indigenous cultures have a totally different version of it that European cultures have,” he explained.
“But this one has commonly become known as the flower moon or the budding moon because of the time of year when the flowers start to bloom.”
When will the super flower blood moon lunar eclipse happen?
The eclipse will begin at around 10:30 p.m. on May 15 but it will take about an hour before it reaches ultimate viewing across most of Ontario.
Thomas is pretty excited by the timing as it will allow a wider audience to take it in.
“It’s one of these things where you always hear about these great events, but you always have to get up at four in the morning or three in the morning to see them,” he said.
“This is one that’s taking place before midnight. So, you know, if you have families that are interested in this or junior scientists at home who are interested in seeing the sky and seeing kind of the cool things that happen up in outer space.
“It’s a rare opportunity to actually see it at a decent time.”
How and where can you see the super flower blood moon lunar eclipse?
Thomas notes that as long as the weather prevails you should be able to see the eclipse from your home.
“Because the moon is so huge in the sky, if you get a good shot of the moon from where you are, you’ll be able to see this,” he said.
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“But one of the things that’s happening if you can’t see it, (is that) it’s overcast or you can’t get out of the light pollution areas.”
The U of G lecturer does have an alternate suggestion in the event that would-be viewers are in an area where hey are unable to see the eclipse.
“NASA runs livestreams of it from various different observatories around North America,” Thomas said. “So if you miss it or if it’s too obscure, then you can have the opportunity to just go to NASA’s livestream site and actually check it out as well.”
He also suggests contacting a local chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada to see if they are holding a viewing party.
“Their goal is to sort of make stargazing and interest in astronomy accessible to everybody,” Thomas explained.