May 14, 2022
The super flower blood moon seen in Srinagar, Kashmir, in May of 2021. Seattle residents will able to see this year’s super flower blood moon if weather permits.
NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images
If the weather cooperates, those in the Seattle area have the chance to a special lunar phenomenon on Sunday night.
The forecast for Sunday calls for rain, which means cloudy skies. But on the off chance that those clouds clear up long enough to see what’s called a “super flower blood moon,” here’s what you need to know.
The slightly ominous name is derived from a confluence of three separate factors.
First, it’s a supermoon. A supermoon is defined as a full or new moon that coincides with the perigee — the point at which the moon comes closest to the earth in its elliptic orbit. When this happens, the moon looks enormous.
Second, it’s a Flower Moon — a title given to the May full moon. It’s a tribute to the colorful blossoms commonly seen during this time of the year.
And third, Sunday’s moon will be a blood moon. Blood moons occur during total lunar eclipses, when the Earth is situated directly between the moon and the sun. That causes the moon to be fully obscured by the Earth’s shadow, which gives it a reddish hue.
So, when you put all of this together, you get the name “super flower blood moon.”
The entire eclipse will be visible in most parts of North America and throughout all of South America. For us, it’s likely the moon will be visible before the sun sets. The totality period — the point at which the moon is at its most red — begins Sunday at 8:29 pm The total eclipse is expected to last until 9:54 pm
Again, whether or not you see it depends on the weather. But if you miss it, don’t despair. There will be three more supermoons this year, and another blood moon Nov. 8.
Alec Regimbal is a reporter.