When Is the Next Blood Moon? Total Lunar Eclipse, Supermoon Set to Coincide

Later this month, an extra special full moon is set to grace the skies above the Earth.

Full moons occur roughly once a month, when the Earth is located directly between the sun and the moon. Technically, the moon turns full at a specific moment, however, it will appear fully illuminated for around a day either side of this time.

On May 26, the moon will turn full at 4:14 a.m. PT, or 7:14 a.m. ET, although at this point it will be below the horizon on the east coast.

This full moon is being referred to as a "Super Flower Blood Moon." But what do all these elements in this name mean?

On this date, a total lunar eclipse and a supermoon will coincide, in what will certainly be a treat for skygazers in large parts of the United States, weather permitting of course.

"Supermoon" is an unofficial term used to describe any full moon that coincides with our natural satellite reaching its closest point to Earth, or perigee, making it appear brighter and larger than a regular full moon in the night sky.

The moon's orbit around the Earth is not perfectly circular. In fact, it is slightly elliptical, meaning that the distance between our planet and the moon varies throughout the year—the average distance is around 238,000 miles.

Not only will the May 26 supermoon be the largest and brightest of the year, it will also coincide with a total lunar eclipse.

A total lunar eclipse is when the moon passes directly through the innermost and darkest portion of Earth's shadow, or umbra, blocking direct sunlight from illuminating its surface.

This causes the moon to darken and turn reddish in color, which is why total lunar eclipses are often referred to as a "blood moon."

This reddish hue occurs because some light from the sun still reaches the lunar surface indirectly after passing through the Earth's atmosphere—a process during which colors towards the violet spectrum are filtered out due to a phenomenon called Rayleigh scattering.

The moon can may also appear yellow, orange or brown during a total lunar eclipse, depending on the composition of the atmosphere.

The "total" phase of the eclipse will be visible for people in parts of the western United States, Australia, western South America and Southeast Asia on May 26, lasting for around 14 minutes, during which time the moon will turn completely red.

"The best viewing for this eclipse is in the Pacific Rim—that's the western parts of the Americas, Australia and New Zealand, and Eastern Asia. For the U.S., the best viewing will be in Hawaii, Alaska, and the western states," Preston Dyches from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a YouTube video.

"For the Eastern U.S., the eclipse begins for you during dawn twilight. You may be able to observe the first part of the eclipse as the Moon just starts to darken, but the Moon will be near or on the horizon as Earth's shadow begins to cover it. The farther west you are, the more of the eclipse you'll be able to see before the Moon sets that morning. Those in the western half of the country will be able to see almost the entire eclipse."

For those on the Pacific Coast, for example, the moon will turn completely red between around 4:11 and 4:25 a.m. PT. You can check when the different stages of the eclipse will occur at your local time here.

According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, the full moon in May is often referred to as the Flower Moon—a traditional name that likely emerged from the fact that this time of year in North America is characterized by many plants flowering.

A Super Blood Moon
A Super Blood Moon is seen during a total lunar eclipse in Los Angeles, California, on January 20, 2019. ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images