Given the cloudy weather there is a chance that some of us in the Kootenays won’t be able to see it, but two lunar events will take place on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, says Rick Nowell of the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook.
The first event is a super moon.
“A super moon is when a full moon occurs when the moon is at its closest point in its orbit to the earth at its perigee at 360,000 km,” Nowell said. “The moon appears 12 per cent larger compared to when it’s farthest away at 405,000 km.”
Also in the early hours of Wednesday morning there will be a lunar eclipse. Nowell says the first phase of the eclipse, the penumbral eclipse, will begin at 2:47 a.m.
“The moon will slowly move from west to the east through the earth’s shadow cone, moving to the left in its orbit. You will see the circular edge of the earth’s shadow move slowly left along the face of the moon.
Next is the partial eclipse (when the moon moves into the earth’s darker umbra shadow). That begins at 3:45 a.m.
Finally, the full umbral, as the moon goes entirely into the umbra shadow at 5:11 a.m., only lasting for 15 minutes. This is when it will darken and turn a dim reddish orange.
Last month the full moon was higher in the southern sky than usual and passed above the Earth’s shadow, Nowell says.
“Next month the full moon will be lower in the sky and will pass below the earth’s shadow. You may have noticed the moon high in the sky or low on the Southern horizon. The moon will stay below the earth’s shadow all summer and fall, and will move back into the shadow in November 2021 for a partial eclipse.”