SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — On Sunday, May 15, much of the U.S. will be able to see the “Super Flower Blood Moon” total lunar eclipse.
For approximately 84 minutes the Moon will cross through Earth’s shadow making the moon turn into a coppery red color.
“This is a special reminder of the special connection between the sun, the Earth, and the moon,” said Dr. Noah Petro. Dr. Petro is a NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Project Scientist.
Dr. Petro said the peak of the lunar eclipse will be around 11:11 p.m. He said if you watch the eclipse you’ll gradually see the moon start to change color.
“It turns this cardinal red for the same reason when you go out around sunrise or sunset and the sky has an orange color,” said Dr. Petro. “Imagine you are on the moon looking back at Earth,
The moon has been a part of many cultures and has fascinated humans for centuries. From the beginning of human history, the moon has acted as a ‘cultural mirror’ to humans’ beliefs. Different cultures have their own historical, cultural, and religious relationships to the moon. Over the centuries the moon has been interpreted as a god, a planet, and a timekeeper/calendar.
“The moon is our neighbor,” said Dr. Petro. “So, just like a good neighbor, it’s there and we get to reflect upon it. We’ve visited it. And what we’ve learned from the moon is that it’s a window to not only our solar system but to the rest of the universe.”
According to Dr. Petro, the Earth is a special place with its unique atmosphere, rivers, and oceans which the moon lacks. By taking samples from the Moon scientists are able to look back at the earliest parts of the solar system.
“The Moon is this wonderful library of the processes that happen in our solar system,” said Dr. Petro. “The Moon and its samples and our science and study of it really inform our understanding of really the basics of how planets actually work.”
Dr. Petro said the moon is one thing that unites all the humans on Earth and that’s one of his favorite facts about the Moon.
“Everyone in the world can look up and see the same moon. It may look different or it may be upside down if you are in the Southern Hemisphere but its all the same moon. So, the moon is one thing that unites every human on Earth. And I think that’s why the moon is culturally significant.”
The total lunar eclipse will be visible close to the time the Moon sets on Monday morning in western parts of Europe and Africa. The partial eclipse will be visible from eastern parts of Europe and Africa just before the Moon sets in the morning, and from the Pacific islands and New Zealand just after the Moon rises in the evening.
No eclipse will be visible for observers in Australia, Oceania, Asia, and most of Alaska.