A ‘season of eclipses’ has arrived and the two biggest astronomical events of 2021 are just around the corner


It will all start with a full moon on May 26, 2021.

But this full “flower moon” will be remarkable for two reasons:

  • It is the largest “super moon” of 2021 and will appear 8% larger in the sky than the average full moon because it will be closest to Earth.
  • It is also a total lunar eclipse “Blood Moon” which will be visible from a whole nocturnal part of the Earth – and which includes some from North America.

Just like clockwork, this “Super Flower Blood Moon Eclipse” marks a point in Earth’s orbit by the Moon that triggers a chain of events that then causes a solar eclipse half an orbit later, when the New Moon is between the Earth and the Sun.

By June 10, 2021, the “super moon” will have changed to a “micro moon” – not a commonly used term, but it helps explain what’s going on.

While the “supermoon” was close to Earth, this New Moon will be the furthest from Earth.

The result is a annular solar eclipse which will be visible as a “ring of fire” around the Moon from parts of Canada, Greenland and Russia, and a huge partial solar eclipse at (or shortly after) sunrise in the United States. northeastern United States. Europe will also experience its largest partial solar eclipse since 2015, with up to 32% of the Sun being covered by the Moon.

To note: never look at the partial phases of any solar eclipse without proper eye protection – and that means solar eclipse glasses. Lunar eclipses are completely safe at all times.

But why do two eclipses follow one another? And what causes eclipses and a “season of eclipses?”

What is an “eclipse season”?

Eclipses are always twins (and sometimes triplets). Eclipse seasons are a period of between 31 and 37 days that occurs every 173 days, or about twice a year. The upcoming one is the first of the two from 2021.

An eclipse season occurs when the Moon is perfectly aligned to intersect the ecliptic – the apparent path of the Sun through our diurnal sky and the plane of the Earth’s orbit of the Sun.

The orbit of Earth’s Moon is tilted 5 ° from the ecliptic, but it must cross the ecliptic twice a month. These two positions are called knots. Usually, it reaches these nodes when the Sun and Moon appear to be very distant from our perspective on Earth. This is why an eclipse does not occur on every new moon (because the moon is above or below the sun) and on a full moon (because the moon is above or below the shadow. of the earth).

It is only when the Moon is at precisely these nodes during New Moon or Full Moon that an eclipse can result.

  • A lunar eclipse sometimes occurs on the full moon when the Earth is between the Sun and the Moon, preventing sunlight from reaching the lunar surface.
  • A solar eclipse sometimes occurs on the New Moon when the Moon is between the Earth and the Sun.

However, when the Moon reaches one of these nodes, it will reach the other eclipse node two weeks later, and sometimes for the third time two weeks after that as well.

When is the second “ eclipse season ” of 2021?

The second 2021 eclipse season begins on November 19, 2021 when a partial lunar eclipse – a “frosty half-blood moon eclipse” – will see 97% of the Moon enter Earth’s dark shadow and turn reddish. . It will be visible from North and South America, Australia and Asia.

This will be followed by the celestial icing on the cake – a dramatic total solar eclipse in Antarctica that will be visible (clear skies allow) low in the sky above the floating icebergs of the Wedell Sea.

Disclaimed: I am the editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com

I wish you clear skies and wide eyes.


About Johnnie Gross

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