‘Super Flower Blood Moon’ blooms brightly in the night sky on Wesak Day

The Super Flower Blood Moon flaunts its beauty on Wesak Day. Photo credit: Allen Ang

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, May 26: Skygazers are in treat tonight as the slightly reddish-orange colour “Super Flower Blood Moon” took over the skies after sunset to show-off its beauty.

This is one rare astronomical event for 2021 because it simultaneously combined three lunar phenomena – a supermoon, a total lunar eclipse and a blood moon, and coincides with Wesak Day.

Many Sarawakians are lucky enough as they joined others across the world to enjoy and witness this spectacular phenomenon which will not appear again until May of 2022.

The Super Flower Blood Moon seen near 4th Mile in Kuching. Photo credit: Dennis Wong

According to space.com, the last time a blood moon occurred was in January 21, 2019 in which it coincided with a supermoon and the Full Wolf Moon, thus earning it the title “Super Blood Wolf Moon”.

This year’s “Super Flower Blood Moon” name is derived from several phenomena – the moon is closer to the Earth than usual so it will appear larger and brighter, hence “supermoon”; blood moon is because of the Earth’s shadow casting a reddish or orange glow on the moon during a total lunar eclipse.

“Flower” refers to the blooms in May, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, and has been attributed to Native American, Colonial American and European sources. Hence, a full moon in May is called a flower moon.

According to NASA’s page on the blood moon witnessed tonight, sunlight bends and scatters as it passes through Earth’s atmosphere and during a lunar eclipse, this filtered sunlight makes its way to through the Earth’s atmosphere, and does reach the lunar surface.

The eclipsed moon, NASA explained, is dimly illuminated by red-orange light left over from all of the sunsets and sunrises occurring around the world at that time. The more dust or clouds in Earth’s atmosphere during the eclipse, the redder the Moon will appear. — DayakDaily

The moon eclipsed seen over Kuching night sky. Photo credit: Dennis Wong