What causes a super flower ‘blood’ moon?

National

A blood red moon lights up the sky during a total lunar eclipse on April 4, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) – The second supermoon of 2021 will bring with it a cosmic phenomenon on Wednesday: the only total lunar eclipse of the year. 

But what causes a super flower “blood” moon? It’s a series of phenomenon in conjunction.

The “Full Flower Moon” will grace the night sky on Wednesday, marking the second of three supermoons this year. This moon got its name because of the abundance of springtime flowers in the Northern Hemisphere around this time, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. May is also the time when farmers begin to seed their fields after hard frosts have ended.

The full moon will appear slightly larger than average because it will reach perigee, or the closest point to Earth in its current orbit, making it a supermoon.

May’s supermoon is distinctive because it’s also a “blood moon” due to the total lunar eclipse, which occurs when the Earth, positioned directly between the moon and sun, blocks the moon from sunlight.

It’s called a blood moon because of the reddish hue it takes on during the eclipse, according to NASA. The red color comes from sunlight filtering through Earth’s atmosphere as the moon passes through the planet’s shadow over several hours. 

This is the first of only two lunar eclipses in 2021. A partial lunar eclipse will occur on Nov. 19.

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