May 2021 Super Flower Blood Moon Is Coming—Here's Its Meaning

The second supermoon of 2021 is due to cross the sky next week, and as the full moon in May it will be called the flower moon.

In addition, the moon at this time may also appear as a "blood moon" for some observers, because the Earth's shadow will give it a reddish color.

This is also known as a lunar eclipse; when the Earth comes directly between the sun and the moon, preventing the sun from illuminating the moon's surface.

According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, this blood moon eclipse will only be visible to people in western North America, western South America, eastern Asia, and Oceania.

It will start at around 4:46 a.m. EDT on May 26, reach its fullest point at 5:45 a.m., and finish at around 9:51 AM. The full flower moon in general will be visible on the nights of May 25 and May 26, but it will appear normal in color.

The Old Farmer's Almanac lists the names of the full moon in every month based on Native American, Colonial American, or other traditional North American sources.

It attributes the flower moon name to the Algonquin—an indigenous people of Eastern Canada.

These names may refer to natural phenomena which occur at the time of year the full moon occurs. For example, many flowers tend to bloom in May.

There are also other names for the full moon in May, which are linked to nature and the arrival of spring. The Almanac notes it has also been called the Planting Moon—because it is the time when seeds should be planted—and Leaf Budding Moon, a Cree name.

Last month's full moon, which occurred in late April, was called the Pink Moon. It was named after the herb moss pink, which is native to the eastern U.S., according to the Maine Farmer's Almanac. The name does not refer to the physical color of the moon.

May's full moon is also called a supermoon—a term used to describe a full moon that also occurs when it is particularly close to the Earth.

This happens because the Moon's orbit around the Earth is not circular. It is oval-shaped, or elliptical. This means that sometimes the moon will be closer to our planet than at others.

If a full moon coincides with the moon also being at its closest point, it may appear to be slightly brighter and bigger in the sky.

On Thursday, NASA published a guide on how to photograph the moon—a notoriously challenging thing to do for an outdoor photographer. It often looks bigger to the eye than it does in photos. NASA's guide can be viewed here.

Red moon
A stock photo shows the moon half-red against a backdrop of stars. The moon will appear red for a few hours next week due to a lunar eclipse. AB Photography/Getty