Life on the ground has been a bit rough lately but if you look up, there's a whole show underway you won't find on any streaming sites. The final super 'flower moon' can be viewed from Australia but you've only got a day to plan it.
What is a Super Flower Moon?
It sounds like something from your favourite fantasy series but the reality is less supernatural in nature — the moon isn't suddenly turning into a flower.
The name originates from the United States after Native American tribes in the New York region noticed it often coincided with when flowers were in bloom, according to NASA. In Australia, the opposite occurs here with the moon appearing in Autumn months when flowers wilt. The moon is also known in other cultures as the Corn Planting Moon, the Milk Moon and the Vesak Festival Moon.
It's notable because it's the final super moon of the year before the new season starts up in 2021. It's called a 'super moon' because it appears bigger and brighter, according to NASA. This happens when a full moon coincides with it being in its closest rotation to Earth.
How to watch the Super Flower Moon in Australia
So now that you know not to expect a flower-shaped moon, here's how you can watch it in Australia.
Unlike stargazing, the moon is visible even with plenty of light. The phenomenon is set to occur on 7 May and there will be a number of times to see it so you won't have to stay up to the wee hours of the morning like the Eta Aquariid meteor shower.
The moon will start to rise from 5.13pm AEST, 5.33pm ACST and 5.41pm AWST and because of an optical illusion, the moon will appear biggest as it rises from the horizon.
For others without a good view of the horizon, the moon's highest point in the night will be the best time to gaze out. For most of us, that time is between 11pm and 1am the next morning.
Here are some tips to optimise your flower moon viewing:
- Lie flat on your back and look up
- Turn off any porch lights
- Avoid looking at phone screens
- Block out your view of any streetlights by using a tree or tall object
We're now in May and that means Australians can expect a star war of a different kind. The Eta Aquariid meteor shower is set to dazzle stargazers in early May and if you're looking to catch the celestial show, here's the best time to see it.