How to see the ‘Super Flower Moon,’ the last supermoon of 2020 – AZCentral

Anne Ryman
Arizona Republic

Published 7:11 PM EDT May 5, 2020

Arizona is taking steps to gradually re-open, but many people may be nervous about venturing out and doing too much too quickly. 

Stepping outside your house to view the so-called Super Flower Moon this week, however, is a comfortable and a safe way to end the day. 

The best night for seeing the Super Flower Moon is Wednesday, May 6. But a nearly full moon on Thursday evening will make for great viewing that evening as well. 

The best time to view the supermoon is while it rises in the sky because the contrast against buildings and trees makes the moon appear even larger. On Wednesday night, the moonrise is at 6:40 p.m. in the Phoenix area. On Thursday, the moonrise is at 7:52 p.m. If you live outside the Phoenix area, enter your city’s name into this website to find moonrise times for your area.

“There’s a lot of neat stuff to look at in the sky, but the moon is right up there as one of my favorites because you can see so much without any equipment,” said Kevin Schindler, a historian at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff.

Moon activities for the family

Schindler recommends three activities that can make moon gazing more fun and interactive:

  • See who can spot the moon first. Go outside a few minutes before the moon rises and try to guess exactly where the moon will appear over the horizon. Will it appear over this fence post? Or that tree? 
  • Observe how the color changes. As it rises, the moon takes on a pink-orange glow, which is due to the Earth’s atmosphere. A couple hours later, the moon appears gray and white when it’s high in the sky. 
  • Watch a special program on the moon live from Arizona. Lowell Observatory will host an hour-long show on the internet, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. The livestream will feature pictures and maps, and a discussion of the moon’s geography and formation. 

What is a supermoon?

Supermoons happen a few times a year when the moon is closest to the Earth in its orbit. The name comes from appearing about 14% larger and 30% brighter than a typical full moon. The May supermoon is known as the “flower moon,” because flowers typically cover the ground in many parts of the country. 

When is the next supermoon?

If you miss the May supermoon, you will have to wait almost a year for the next one. The next supermoon won’t make an appearance until April 27, 2021. 

Reach the reporter at anne.ryman@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-8072. Follow her on Twitter @anneryman.

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