By Madison Mooney
You know what they say—April meteor showers bring May Super Flower Moons (at least, that’s what we say)! In the early morning hours of Thursday, May 7, a Super Flower Moon will light up the sky. However, it’s important to note that the “super” and “flower” aspects of this particular moon will occur on different days. Don’t worry, we’ll explain everything!
What is the Super Flower Moon?
Just as April’s Super Pink Moon wasn’t actually pink in color, the Super Flower Moon won’t be sprouting any petals as it takes to the sky. Any full moon that occurs in the month of May is referred to as a Flower Moon, as they traditionally mark the blooming of spring wildflowers.
The technical term for a supermoon is “perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system.” It sounds complicated, but it’s just a full moon that coincides with the moon’s closest approach to Earth in its slightly elliptical orbit. This close approach is called perigee. The effect is slight, but the Moon may appear bigger and brighter in the sky during this time.
A syzygy occurs when three or more celestial bodies are aligned in space. The alignment of the Earth, Moon, and Sun always falls on either a new moon or full moon. So, when the moon is full and at or close to perigee, we call it a supermoon, or perigee-syzygy.
How and when can I view the Super Flower Moon?
As we mentioned before, the “super” and “flower” aspects of the Super Flower Moon won’t occur at the same time. The exact moment of perigee will occur on May 5th at 8:03 pm AZ/PT, and syzygy will occur almost 32 hours later at 3:45 am on the morning of May 7. The Moon will appear full to the eye during both of these days.
The best time to watch the Super Flower Moon will be on the evening of May 6 during moonrise. Here in Flagstaff, Arizona, moonrise will be at 6:45 AZ/PT. To determine the exact time of moonrise in your area, we recommend checking out a location-based moonrise/moonset calendar. If you look to the east during moonrise, the Moon will appear larger to the eye as it comes up over the horizon.
Watch the Super Flower Moon live on May 6!
Join us at 6:30 pm AZ/PT on May 6 for a live-stream of the Super Flower Moon as it lights up the sky! We will also identify Apollo moon landing sites and other key features of the Moon’s surface.