When is the next total lunar eclipse in 2021—and why is it being called the flower moon?

Keep an eye on the sky for the next total lunar eclipse in 2021

GRODNO REGION, BELARUS - JANUARY 21, 2019: A lunar eclipse over the village of Turets
(Image credit: Photo by Natalia Fedosenko\TASS via Getty Images)

The next total lunar eclipse in 2021 is only weeks away, but when will it occur and why is it being called the Flower Moon?

For those who frequently check their weekly horoscope, the possibility of an upcoming total lunar eclipse in 2021 could signal huge change. Lunar eclipses are often a time for people to grow and become more aware of others as they shift perspectives. For many, lunar eclipses serve as a time to reflect and let go of what no longer serves us, accepting that everything is cyclical, like the moon’s phases. Though lunar eclipses can often leave us feeling lethargic, many consider emotional healing to be especially powerful during this time. 

So it’s worth knowing exactly when the next total lunar eclipse will be in 2021 and where you can catch a glimpse of this magnificent natural event. 

Will there be a lunar eclipse in 2021? 

Lunar eclipses occur when the moon passes into the Earth’s shadow, blocking the sun’s light from reflecting off the moon’s surface. Total lunar eclipses, often known by their more intriguing name ‘Blood Moons’, are perhaps the most dramatic form of lunar eclipse. During these, the earth’s shadow completely blocks all of the sun’s light from reflecting. 

However, this isn’t the only type of lunar eclipse that can be seen in our skies. Partial lunar eclipses occur when the shadow only partially blocks the sun. Whilst penumbral lunar eclipses are the least impressive and hardest to spot as the moon is only in Earth’s faint outer shadow. 

A composite image shows the Earth's shadow beginning to cross the surface of the moon during the partial eclipse phase of the lunar eclipse on January 21, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom

(Image credit: Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

Though each type of eclipse only lasts for a relatively short amount of time, star-gazers look forward to seeing them all year. And for those hoping to catch a glimpse of a lunar eclipse in 2021, they won’t be disappointed. It’s thought that a partial lunar eclipse will take place on November 19, but—and even more excitingly—a total lunar eclipse is due to occur in just a matter of weeks.

When is the next Blood Moon? 

The true meaning behind the Blood Moon in May 2021 reflects the huge cosmic forces at work, as it's said they symbolize endings, beginnings and clean slates. So this year's Blood Moon is not one to miss as it's the first to occur since January 21, 2019. A total lunar eclipse or Blood Moon will occur on May 26, 2021 and will be visible to some parts of North America in the early hours. According to Forbes, the best locations to see this beautiful natural event will be Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand and they will see it high in the sky later at night. 

The moon is seen over the One World Trade Center during a total lunar eclipse, known as "Super Blood Wolf Moon" in Lower Manhattan, New York, United States on January 20, 2019

(Image credit: Photo by Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Sadly, the East Coast of America will not get to witness the Blood Moon this time as the moon will be below the horizon at the time of the total eclipse. Though the west coast of America will get to see it low in the southwestern sky.

The Earth's shadow will start to block the sun's light from 1:47am PDT and the actual total eclipse will begin at 4:11am PDT. It will end at 4:25am PDT, so set your alarms and make sure you’re ready to catch a glimpse.

Why is this lunar eclipse being referred to as the Flower Moon?  

Total lunar eclipses already have the more ominous-sounding second name, ‘Blood Moon’, however 2021's event is also being referred to as a Super Flower Blood Moon. This is because the full moon in May is often called the Flower Moon, understood to be a reference to the time of year and the fact many flowers bloom this month. 

Whilst May 2021's full moon is also a Super Moon, which is when the full or new moon coincides with when it is closest to the Earth in its orbit. The total eclipse will occur during this Super Moon/Flower Moon and Forbes reports that it will appear 7% bigger than an average full moon and will also be the brightest of this year, appearing around 15% brighter. 

If ever there was a time to catch a glimpse of a total lunar eclipse, it's 2021!