Michigan may finally have a good chance at seeing a neat sky event. A total lunar eclipse with a few more novelties will occur next weekend.
The total lunar eclipse will start Sunday, May 15 at 10:27 p.m., according to Mike Narlock, head of Astronomy at Cranbrook Institute of Science. Narlock says the progression to the total lunar eclipse will take a while. The totality portion of the lunar eclipse starts at 11:29 p.m. Sunday and lasts until 12:53 a.m. Monday, May 16.
You’ll have to stay up late on a Sunday night to see the eclipse, but it may be worth it.
There are a few things going on with this full moon. First, this month’s full moon is called the Flower Moon. It’s easy to understand why this moon has that name, with our spring bulbs blooming now.
The full moon is also a super moon. Narlock says a super moon occurs when the position of the moon is at its closest point to Earth. The orbit of the moon around Earth isn’t a perfect circle. Narlock says the moon’s orbit is more egg-shaped than circular. On May 15, the moon will be in the spot of its orbit where it is closest to Earth.
So the total eclipse is a Flower Moon and a super moon. But wait – there’s more. It is also a blood moon. Narlock says the phrase “blood moon” really isn’t a true astronomical term. All lunar eclipses turn some amount of red. During a total lunar eclipse, Earth passes directly between the sun and the moon. The Earth’s shadow is cast upon the moon. During a total lunar eclipse, blue light is filtered out of the light hitting the moon. Red light can still make it through and be cast upon the moon.
So the moon should look at least somewhat red. If there is a lot of dust or water vapor in our sky at the time of the eclipse, the moon would be a darker red.
The last piece of good news comes from the weather department. With warmer than normal temperatures next week comes a decent chance of clear skies. In very warm and humid air, a thunderstorm could always develop. Thunderstorms due to warm air typically diminish by early evening. At the moment, it also looks like there won’t be a large storm system around next Sunday.
Michigan misses so many sky events. The lunar eclipse next week probably won’t be blocked by clouds.