Wednesday’s lunar eclipse is set to dazzle millions of stargazers lucky enough to be in the right place and at the right time. Not only will it be the only total eclipse of the Moon this year, but it will also be the first total eclipse since January 2019. During the eclipse, this month’s Full Moon – traditionally known as the Flower Moon – will pass into the Earth’s shadow and emerge with an ominous red-orange glow.
And the good news does not end there because the Full Moon will be near apogee – its closest point to Earth – giving us a bigger and brighter Supermoon.
US space agency NASA said: “Supermoons and lunar eclipses are different phenomena that do not always occur at the same time.
“This month brings an excellent opportunity to enjoy the view.”
The eclipse will not be visible here in the UK as it will unfold in the daytime.
Instead, it will be best seen from parts of North and South America, the Pacific, Australia, New Zealand and South/East Asia.
But you have a chance to watch the eclipse here on Express.co.uk, allowing you the freedom to enjoy the spectacle without having to leave home or jump across time zones.
When is the Blood Moon eclipse?
The eclipse will unfold in its entirety on Wednesday, May 26.
Partial eclipsing of the Moon’s glowing face will begin 10.44am BST (9.44am UTC).
Total eclipsing will then follow at about 12.11am BST (11.11am UTC).
Once the Moon enters the Earth’s dark umbral shadow, it will change colour.
The eclipse will peak by 12.18pm BST (11.18am UTC), after which the Moon will start to head out of the shadow.
Astronomers expect the spectacle to wrap up by 2.49pm BST (1.49am UTC).
How to watch the Blood Moon eclipse online?
Courtesy of the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy, you can simply tune into the embedded video player above.
The free stream is being hosted on YouTube and will kick off on Wednesday by 11am BST (10am UTC).
According to Dr Gianluca Masi, head of the Virtual Telescope, the broadcast will bring together views from the US, Australia and Panama.
The astrophysicist said: “As in the past, the Virtual Telescope Project will partner with some great astro-imagers there to bring to you the stunning beauty of such a unique event.
“Yes, it will be somewhat unique: the 26 May 2021 Full Moon will be both a ‘Supermoon’ (the largest full Moon of the year, by the way) and a ‘Blood Moon’, something we really want to share with you.”
Why will the Moon turn red during the eclipse?
Although the Moon will enter the Earth’s shadow, it will not disappear entirely.
Bands of sunlight scattered around the planet’s edge will still reach the Moon’s face.
The light is scattered and filtered through Earth’s dusty atmosphere, which filters out blue wavelengths of light.
The same process – Rayleigh scattering – is responsible for painting the skies blue as well as your eyes!
The red light then falls on the eclipsed Moon and gives its a characteristic glow.
If you looked at the Earth from the surface of the Moon at eclipse maximum, you would see a red halo around the planet – sunrises and sunsets outlining the Earth’s edge.
NASA explained: “Sunlight bends and scatters as it passes through Earth’s atmosphere.
“In air, colours at the blue and violet end of the rainbow scatter more widely than colours like red and orange.
“Widely scattered blue light tints the sky when the Sun is overhead on clear days.”
Redder light, meanwhile, travels in straighter lines and is seen during sunsets and sunrises.