Lunar eclipse, Supermoon 2021: On May 26, the Moon is set to make the nearest approach to Earth. This would mean that the natural satellite would seem the closest and largest Full Moon of the year or the ‘Supermoon’. However, May 26 also marks the only total lunar eclipse this year, meaning that the two phenomena will coincide. This would mark the first time in six years that both these events would occur at the same time, according to a report in IE. The report cited NASA as saying that a Supermoon occurs during a Full Moon when the Moon’s orbit is also closest to the planet.
The lowest distance between the Moon and the Earth is about 3.6 lakh km, and this is called the perigee. On the other hand, when the Moon is farthest from the Earth, the phenomenon is known as apogee and the two celestial bodies are then at a distance of 4.05 lakh km. When the Moon is closest to the Earth and a Full Moon is also occurring at point, then the Moon appears brighter as well as larger than a regular Full Moon. About two to four Full Supermoons and two to four New Supermoons can occur in a row in a typical year, the report added.
In April also, a Full Supermoon occurred, but this Supermoon is set to be closer to the Earth by 0.04%.
While Supermoons in themselves are not a rare occurrence, May 26 is exciting because two celestial events are coinciding. Along with the Supermoon, there will also be a total lunar eclipse, or a phenomenon where Sun, Moon, and Earth are in a straight line, with Earth being in between the Sun and the Moon. But, that’s not it. Due to it being a total lunar eclipse, the Moon would also appear red because our planet would be blocking some of the light from the Sun from reaching the Moon. Instead, the atmosphere of the planet would filter the light softening the edge of its shadow falling on the Moon, which would give the satellite a deep and rosy glow.
The Moon is set to be fully illuminated at about 4:43 pm on Wednesday in India. Meanwhile, the Supermoon would be visible to most of the observers across the globe through the night is clear, and it is set to be highest overhead late night or early morning, the report added.