Watching the Skies: West Michigan misses out on total lunar eclipse

Watching The Skies

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A full moon will light up the sky Wednesday.

The full moon in May is known as the Flower Moon, a total lunar eclipse will take place and it will be considered a supermoon. Put it all together and you have a Super Flower Blood Moon. 

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth is directly between the sun and the moon. The Earth’s shadow covers the moon, making the moon appear red at totality. During this eclipse, the moon will glow red for about 14 minutes. 

Unfortunately, West Michigan will not be treated to a view of the total lunar eclipse. Only a partial umbral eclipse will be visible from our vantage point, which means we will just see a subtle darkening on the edge of the moon from the earth’s shadow.

The western portion of the United States will have a view of the total eclipse, along with parts of South America and Asia. All of Australia and New Zealand will be able to see the total eclipse. 

To see the partial eclipse in West Michigan, look at the moon around 5:45 a.m. on May 26.

Even without the total lunar eclipse visible, the full moon should be a beautiful sight. When a moon is full at the same time it is closest to Earth in its monthly orbit, it’s known as a supermoon.

The full moon of May will be the closest supermoon of this year. It will appear slightly bigger and brighter than other full moons, but the difference will be subtle. 

May’s full moon is known as the Flower Moon, the Budding Moon and the Planting Moon, to name a few. 

Jim Amsler was able to capture a beautiful photo of the waxing gibbous moon over the weekend. Watch it continue to grow over the next couple of days. 

The waxing gibbous moon over West Michigan during the weekend of May 21. (Courtesy: Jim Amsler)

Later in the week, try to spot Mercury and Venus paired up together in the evening sky. They will be in conjunction early on May 29. Look low on the horizon in the west about half an hour after sunset on May 28 and May 29 to see the two. 

Venus will be visible with the naked eye, but binoculars might be needed to find Mercury. The next closest conjunction between Mercury and Venus will not arrive until 2033. 

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