Full supermoon and total lunar eclipse

The celestial views of the past few weeks have been spectacular, including the planets in procession, and this month’s full moon will be a celestial spectacle.

This is not just an ordinary moon, it is considered a super moon. If that wasn’t exciting enough, this month coincides with a full lunar eclipse.

The best part, you don’t need fancy equipment to watch this event, just your eyes and an unobstructed dark sky.

What you need to know

  • The full moon of May is a giant moon
  • The giant moon is 7% larger and 15% brighter
  • A total lunar eclipse will occur on May 15/16
  • During a lunar eclipse, the moon turns red, making it appear as a “blood moon”

moon orbit

The Moon orbits the Earth once every 27.33 days. It does not follow a perfect circle of orbit, so it may be closer to Earth through various points along its orbit.

When it is located between the Sun and the Earth in its orbit, we see a new moon, or we do not see a moon. A full moon occurs when the moon, during its orbit, is on the opposite side of the sun.

What makes this month so amazing is that during its orbit, the moon will be at perigee. From the Greek piri meaning near and geo meaning earth, the moon will be at its closest point to the earth.

According to NASA, when the full moon is at perigee, it appears brighter and larger than other full moons.


With this appearance, the term “super moon” was coined by the American astronomer Richard Knoll in 1979.

Nolle used the term to describe both the new moon and the moon when it was at or near perigee, however, the latter being the supermoon that has caught on in popular culture.

As the saying goes, “The full moon brings out madness,” Noll hypothesized that a giant moon would cause an increase in severe weather and earthquakes. However, there is no evidence of a connection.

When the May full moon reaches its zenith on May 15 at 11:15 p.m. CST, it will appear 7% larger and 15% brighter, according to NASA. With such a wonderful sight, it would only be fitting for her to have a unique name.

moon flower

The name of the full moon of May, according to the old farmer’s calendar, is the moon of Venus, which was indicated due to the abundance of flowers that grow this month in North America.

The name goes back to Native American tribes, colonial Americans, and even some European sources. Other names for this month’s moon include the corn-growing moon and the milk moon.

total lunar eclipse

This event is very special as the full moon coincides with being a supermoon. However, what makes it even more impressive is that this event also occurs during a full lunar eclipse, making it not just a full super moon, but also a full-blooded supermoon.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth lies directly between the moon and the sun. This position causes the Earth to cast a shadow on the Moon, which causes the Moon to be completely obscured.

During this process, the Earth’s shadow gives the moon a reddish hue. This appearance refers to the moon as a “blood moon”.

The total lunar eclipse takes 5.5 hours to complete. Eclipse times are between 8:30 PM – 2:00 AM CST.

St. Louis information

Sunday, May 15, 8:32 p.m. – Penumbral Eclipse (casts Earth’s partial shadow on the Moon)

Sunday, May 15 9:28 PM – Partial Eclipse Begins

Sunday, May 15, 10:29 PM – Total Eclipse Begins

Sunday, May 15, 11:11 p.m. – maximum eclipse

Sunday, May 15, 11:54 p.m. – End of total eclipse

Monday, May 16, 12:55 a.m. – Partial eclipse ends

Monday, May 16, 1:51 a.m. – End of Eclipse Penumbral

Watching local events

Want to watch it in a unique place? The public can get outside and enjoy this amazing event from the prime viewing location next to Elephant Rock. The after-hours event runs from 8:00 PM – 1:00 AM CST.

State Park officials recommend bringing lawn chairs, but no obtrusive camping gear.

Be sure to check the radar before heading to the event. The forecast for Sunday calls for rain and storms, with a cold front crossing. The big question is, will the clouds drop in time for the great celestial event in our region?

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