Hey astronomy aficionados, a total lunar eclipse will be occurring this Wednesday morning, May 26th. This eclipse of the moon by the earth’s shadow will also take place during a supermoon (more on this later).
A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth’s shadow blocks the light coming to the moon from the sun. The outer shadow is known as the penumbra, and the inner shadow is known as the umbra. A total lunar eclipse can also be called a umbral eclipse.
Timing of Partial Lunar Eclipse (Fayetteville, AR)
Timing of Partial Lunar Eclipse (Fort Smith, AR)
Due to this particular path of the earth’s shadow, Fort Smith will see the partial eclipse for a few minutes longer than Fayetteville before the moon sets in the western sky.
The Super Flower Blood Moon
The lunar eclipse will also take place at the same time as the supermoon. The moon will be at its closest point to the earth in its orbit also known as perigee. A supermoon by definition, is 14% bigger and 30% brighter than a micromoon or a moon that is the farthest from the Earth (apogee).
This supermoon occuring in the month of May is known as the flower moon. May is of course a popular month to see lots of flowers across North America, but it actually gets its namesake from the Algonquin people of Canada. The May full moon can also be referred to as the Budding, Leaf Budding, Planting, Egg Laying, Frog, or Shedding Ponies Moon.
A blood moon, is named after the red tint the moon takes on during the lunar eclipse. This happens due to the refraction of the sunrise-sunset light bleeding into the earth’s shadow.
Viewing Conditions for Wednesday Morning, May 26.
While all of this would be really neat to experience, will the weather cooperate to keep the skies clear? The answer as it stands right now is unfortunately no. We are expecting a cluster of storms to develop to our west and die out overnight. The cloud cover leftover from the dying thunderstorm complex will drift into the area early Wednesday morning, most likely obsuring the supermoon and the total lunar eclipse from our sight.
Keep it with your Weather Authority for the latest forecast and sky conditions expected as we draw closer to this event.