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Super-blood-flower moon visible for much of Alaska

Total lunar eclipse on Wednesday morning
Updated: May. 23, 2021 at 9:07 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - If the weather remains clear, most of Alaska will be able to see a total lunar eclipse early Wednesday morning, May 26. It’s a super, blood, flower moon. The eclipse will be visible for Alaskans south of the Brooks Range. Check times below for when the eclipse occurs.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, Earth and moon line up and Earth’s shadow completely covers the moon. While partial lunar eclipses occur about every six months, total lunar eclipses occur about every two and a half years.

A total lunar eclipse is a rare enough event but this one has the added benefit of being a supermoon.

Broadly speaking, a supermoon is when the full moon coincides when the moon is at its closest point to Earth in its orbit. A supermoon will look bigger and brighter than other full moons. On May 26, the moon will be 222,116.6 miles away from Earth.

It’s also called a “blood moon” due to the slight reddish tone it will take on when the moon is fully eclipsed. This is due to a phenomenon called “Rayleigh scattering” which is the “scattering of sunlight off molecules in the atmosphere.” The red colors move through Earth’s atmosphere while the blue light is filtered out.

Each full moon has a name. The May full moon is the “flower” moon due to all the flowers that bloom in May.

The eclipse begins at 12:47 a.m. Wednesday when the penumbra starts to cover the moon. This is the lighter edge of the shadow. The partial eclipse begins about an hour later, 1:44 a.m. This is likely when you have the best chance of seeing the eclipse in action. Earth’s shadow will fully cover the moon at 3:12 a.m. The total eclipse ends – meaning the moon will start to leave Earth’s shadow – at 3:25 a.m. In southern areas of Alaska you can track the partial eclipse until 4:52 a.m., but some areas will miss the ending of the eclipse. For example, in Fairbanks, the moonset occurs at 4:10 a.m. when the partial eclipse is still occurring.

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