Will SA be able to see the spectacular Super Flower Blood Moon?

26 May 2021 - 06:00 By Toni Jaye Singer
An eclipsed Blood Moon seen through the branches of a tree in Durban on July 27 2018. File photo.
An eclipsed Blood Moon seen through the branches of a tree in Durban on July 27 2018. File photo.
Image: Jackie Clausen

Skygazers in parts of the world are in for a spectacular sight on Wednesday, when there will be a Super Flower Blood Moon on the rise.

A Blood Moon is a phenomenon that only occurs during a total lunar eclipse when the Earth comes between the sun and the moon. This causes the celestial satellite to take on a dark ruby glow, hence its name.

Nasa explains that as the moon passes into the Earth’s shadow, or umbra, the sun’s light is blocked, and the only light that reaches its surface comes from the edges of our planet’s atmosphere.

“The eclipsed moon is dimly illuminated by red-orange light left over from all the sunsets and sunrises occurring around the world at that time. The more dust or clouds in Earth’s atmosphere during the eclipse, the redder the moon will appear.”

Unfortunately this lunar eclipse won’t be visible in SA, so we won’t be able to spot the Blood Moon, said Dr Daniel Cunnama, science engagement astronomer at the SA Astronomical Observatory.

Mzansi will still enjoy a Super Flower Moon, however, and Cunnama said this is an impressive sight. 

Super moon is the term used to describe what happens when a full (or new) moon occurs at the same time that the moon is at the point closest to the Earth in its monthly orbit.

During this phenomenon, which can occur several times a year, the moon can appear larger and brighter than usual.

May’s full moon is also traditionally known as the Flower Moon because it appears at a time when blooms are in abundance in the northern hemisphere.


Reuters reports that several observatories around the world will webcast Wednesday’s lunar eclipse, giving South Africans a chance to watch it.

This includes the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles and the Astronomical Society of South Australia, which will live stream the event on their YouTube channels at 10.45am and 12pm respectively (CAT time).