Your last chance to see a supermoon in 2020 will come Thursday night, when the “Flower Moon” peaks.
As this year’s Eta Aquariid meteor shower lights up the night sky, the moon will appear full starting Tuesday night, according to NASA. The moon will reach its peak at 6:45 a.m. ET Thursday and then continue to appear full Friday night.
May’s “Flower Moon” is the third and final in a series of supermoons that began in March, according to “The Old Farmer’s Almanac.“
What’s a supermoon?
A supermoon occurs when a full moon is especially close to Earth. The moon’s closeness to Earth makes it look extra-close and extra-bright – up to 14% bigger and 30% brighter than a full moon at its farthest point from Earth.
The term “supermoon” was coined in 1979 by astrologer Richard Nolle. It has become an increasingly popular and media-friendly term in the decades since. According to NASA, it’s used by the media today to describe what astronomers would call a perigean full moon: a full moon occurring near or at the time when the moon is at its closest point in its orbit around Earth.
Due to the optical effect known as the moon illusion, the full moon can seem huge when rising behind distant objects on the horizon. A supermoon appears especially impressive.
Why is it called a “Flower Moon”?
The full moon in May was named the “Flower Moon” by several Native American tribes because of the large number of flowers that bloom this month, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. It is also sometimes referred to as the Mother’s Moon, Milk Moon, and Corn Planting Moon, references to a time of increased fertility
This moon is also called the the Vesak Festival Moon, NASA said, because it falls on the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha.