When is the Bloodflower Lunar Eclipse in Vancouver?

Metro Vancouver skywatchers should mark their calendars for the first of two total lunar eclipses this year.

The full moon, known as the full “flower moon,” will occur on Sunday, May 15 and peak at 9:15 a.m., according to timeanddate.com.

But the full moon will not be the highlight of the night. When the moon reaches its maximum size, the celestial body will move under the Earth’s shadow, preventing sunlight from reaching its surface.

The lunar eclipse will begin at 8:44 p.m. on Sunday, with the eclipse reaching its maximum point at 9:11 p.m.; it will end at 11:50 a.m. In other words, Vancouverites will see the maximum eclipse just minutes before the moon is at its fullest point in the local sky.

Timeanddate.com also shares a video of when the lunar eclipse will occur in the city.

Why is it called a “flower moon”?

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac: “The full moon in May marked a period of increasing fertility, with temperatures warm enough to safely bear the young, a near end to late frosts and flowering plants.” They note that indigenous people gave distinctive names to each recurring full moon to mark the change of seasons. As such, many of these names arose when Native Americans first interacted with settlers.

That being said, Space.com notes that the April Full Moon goes by other names as well, including Full Sprout Moon, Egg Moon, and Full Pisces Moon.

Watch a lunar eclipse in Vancouver

Marley Leacock, astronomer at the HR MacMillan Space Center, says Vancouver is awesome that you don’t need any special equipment to see the lunar eclipse in all its celestial glory – but your location does matter.

For the lunar eclipse, people will want a clear view of the southeast sky and the southeast horizon, the astronomer explains. The eclipse will begin when the moon is still below the horizon, so when it rises around 9 p.m. it will already be slightly red.

“It will also be very dark, so it will be difficult to see,” she explains. “If the weather holds, we will see the end of the eclipse when the Moon emerges from Earth’s shadow and rises into the sky.

The partial eclipse will end around 10:55 p.m., “the Moon leaving Earth’s penumbra around 11:50 p.m.,” adds Leacock.

“The penumbra is hard to see, as it only makes the Moon’s face look a bit darker, as the Moon appears to have bitten during the partial eclipse, so it looks like the event ended in 10 :55h”

And why is it called a blood moon?

“It’s considered a blood moon because eclipses can take on a red-orange color. It’s because of the light hitting our atmosphere and scattering. The blue light is dispersed very quickly and what’s left is red and orange light and that’s what turns the moon red,” she explained.

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