Stunning views of full eclipse will be visible in Helena
We haven't had a full lunar eclipse in 2 and a half years, so Wednesday's astrological event is a special one you won't want to miss.
Not only is it an eclipse, but it will also be a Super Moon and a Blood Moon. The sight will only be visible in the West Coast, luckily that includes Helena, as the eclipse will be in full swing just as the moon sets in the US.
Residents further east may see a partial eclipse. It's also visible in various locations around the world including Australia, New Zealand, and South/East Asia.
The best time for viewing in Helena is 5:18am. That's when it will be at its maximum, but you may want to start watching earlier to get the full effect. There are seven phases of a lunar eclipse and this one will start at 2:47am and end at 5:51am.
The eclipse will be low in Helena's southwestern sky so try to pick a spot with a clear view of the horizon.
What makes it worth the early morning wake up?
Several things make this eclipse a special one.
According to EarthSky, "This May full moon is 2021’s closest (and therefore biggest and brightest) full moon of the year: a supermoon"
Supermoons occur when the moon is orbiting close to the earth and is also a full moon. Because this one is happening in Spring, it's been named a Super Flower Moon.
Don't forget to watch for Mercury close by too.
"In the nights after this “Super Flower Blood Moon Eclipse” it will also be possible to see tiny Mercury shining next to the super-bright planet Venus, which returns to the post-sunset night sky as the 'Evening Star.'" says Jamie Carter in Forbes
It's a bit of a mouthful, but the Super Flower Blood Moon Eclipse is, you guessed it, also a Blood Moon.
In a lunar eclipse the earth's shadow falls over the moon. Light from the sun is then refracted around the earth and through our atmosphere, which gives the moon a red appearance.
The moon can also appear orange, brown, and yellow during different eclipses.
Says timeanddate, "This is because different types of dust particles and clouds in Earth's atmosphere allow different wavelengths to reach the surface of the Moon."
Our ancestors feared Blood moons and thought they were signs or omens. Now that we understand the science behind them, we can appreaciate their beauty instead.
So find a great viewing spot--a place with low light pollution is best--and cross your fingers that the overcast weather due for Helena clears in time!