There is something about seeing the Moon in a different color – and even more so about seeing its eclipse of the Sun – that really stirs the human imagination. And yet, the “Blue Moon” of the coming week will not be really blue.
A term to describe the third full moon of a season containing four, the full “sturgeon blue moon” on Sunday, August 22, 2021 will be little different, visually speaking, from any other.
Despite this, if you get the timing right, the sight of a dramatic moonrise is hard to beat. So what Is beat him? Why, a “Blood Moon” and, much more, a total solar eclipse, of course!
With a “Blue Moon” looming and the second eclipses season of 2021 just a few months away, here’s a reminder of when the Moon will do something special the rest of the year:
1. A full “blue moon”
When: twilight on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 August 2021
Where to look: rising east
Although some believe that a “Blue Moon” is the second full moon of the same month, astronomically it is actually the third of four full moons in a single season.
Technically full at 12:02 PM Universal Time on Sunday August 22, 2021 but visible as a nearly full orb on two successive evenings, wait for dusk and look southeast for the exquisite sight of a rising full “Blue Moon”. Don’t expect him to look blue.
Like all rising full moons, it will turn a beautiful orange to yellow as it rises in the night sky as it clears up.
2. A “Frozen Half-Blood Moon Eclipse”
When: twilight on Friday, November 19, 2021
Where to look: rising east
The second “Eclipse Season” of 2021 will begin with a full “Frost Moon” on November 19, 2021, which will technically be a partial lunar eclipse. However, it is woefully close to being a total lunar eclipse similar to May’s “Super Flower Blood Moon”.
Seen from North and South America, Australia, and Asia, 97% of the lunar surface will turn slightly pinkish-red as most of the Moon falls into Earth’s shadow in the ‘space.
3. A total solar eclipse in Antarctica
When: just after dawn on Saturday, December 4, 2021
Where to search: southeast (only from Antarctica)
Solar eclipses can only occur on the New Moon, when the Moon is between the Earth and the Sun, and like clockwork, they occur two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse.
The best naked eye view of nature? If you’ve even experienced (“seen” is too one-dimensional) a total solar eclipse, you’ll be anxious to know when the next one is. International travel is tough this year, of course, but be sure to follow online as the lucky few will be able to see, feel and experience “the totality” on December 4, 2021.
Very likely to be seen from a cruise ship on the Wedell Sea – or an airplane in the sky above – this total solar eclipse in Antarctica promises to be very dramatic if there is a clear sky.
I wish you clear skies and big eyes.