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Full Moon May 2023: Why Is It Called the Flower Moon?

The rare Penumbral Flower Moon Lunar Eclipse is set to occur on May 5, 2023

Flower Moon

Flower Moon

Those who love full moons are in for a treat this month as a rare penumbral Flower Moon lunar eclipse is set to take place.

May’s full moon reaches its peak on May 5, 2023! It marks a significant event for stargazers and enthusiasts as it combines the energies of a flower moon and a lunar eclipse. May’s full moon will coincide with a penumbral lunar eclipse, when the moon passes through the outer edge of the Earth’s shadow, resulting in a slight dimming effect on the moon.

When to observe the rare penumbral Flower Moon lunar eclipse?

The Flower Moon will appear opposite the Sun in Earth-based longitude on Friday at about 10pm UAE time, according to US space agency NASA.

Dubai residents can observe it without the need for telescopes or binoculars  due to the exceptional brightness of the ‘Flower Moon’.

The lunar event happens when the Moon passes into the lighter outer region of the Earth’s shadow, which is called the penumbra. When the moon is within the penumbra, it receives less light from the Sun and is dimmed but still remains partially illuminated. But the moon is expected to be bright on Friday as it will be a full Flower Moon.

Why Is It Called the Flower Moon?

May’s full moon is known as Flower Moon because of flowers that bloom in many parts of the world, during the fifth month of the year.

Flower Moon

The full moon names used by The Old Farmer’s Almanac is said to be derived from Native American, Colonial American, and European sources, where each full moon was given a name that reflected the season and the natural cycles of the Earth.

The flower moon has many other names, such as Budding Moon and Leaf Budding Moon, which mark the significance of spring’s flora. It has also been called the Egg Laying Moon, Planting Moon, Milk Moon and also the Hare Moon.

Is the Flower Moon rare?

In the year 2023, it is going to be a rare Flower Moon as it is accompanied by the Lunar Eclipse.

Full Moon May 2023: Why Is It Called the Flower Moon?
The phases of the Moon for May 2023. Credit: NASA

The ‘Flower Moon’, in particular, may appear slightly larger than other full moons because it occurs when the Moon’s ecliptic longitude is exactly 180 degrees away from the Sun’s ecliptic longitude, as viewed from the centre of the Earth. However, there is no discernible visual difference in the Moon at this exact moment, and a full moon can be seen at any time of night,” said Sarath Raj, Project Director, Amity Dubai Satellite Ground Station and AmiSat, Amity University Dubai, according to Khaleej Times.

“A penumbral lunar eclipse is a type of lunar eclipse that occurs when the Moon passes through the outer, fainter part of Earth’s shadow known as the penumbra. During a penumbral lunar eclipse, the Moon appears darker or dimmer than usual, but does not turn red or orange like it does during total or partial lunar eclipses.”

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“The eclipse occurs gradually as the Moon moves into and out of the Earth’s penumbra, with the maximum eclipse occurring when the Moon is closest to the centre of the penumbra. In Dubai on May 5, 2023, the moon will be at a Right Ascension of 14h 27m 31.6s and Declination of -15° 16′ 25.2″ with a magnitude of -12.52. The Moon will be situated approximately 380,000 kilometres away from the Earth. In astronomy, negative values are used to represent the apparent magnitude of the brightest celestial objects, such as stars, planets, and galaxies,” he adds.