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'Super Flower Blood Moon' webcasts: How to watch the supermoon eclipse of 2021 online

Editor's note: The Super Flower Blood Moon lunar eclipse thrilled stargazers around the world and has ended. See photos, video and more in our wrap story here.


Super Flower Blood Moon Eclipse

The total lunar eclipse of Jan. 20-21, 2019, captured by astrophotographers Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre from the suburbs of Boston. From left to right: The start of totality, at 11:41 p.m. EST on Jan. 20; the middle of totality, at 12:12 a.m. on Jan. 21; and the end of totality at 12:44 a.m.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre)

If you take a photo of the 2021 total lunar eclipse let us know! You can send images and comments to spacephotos@space.com.

The full moon on Wednesday (May 26) will be something to behold, as the only total lunar eclipse of 2021 arrives together with the year's biggest "supermoon." 

Skywatchers in much of the world will have a chance to see a slightly larger-than-average full moon temporarily appear red during the so-called "Super Flower Blood Moon." But for those in parts of the world where the eclipse isn't visible — or where clouds foil the view — there will be several free webcasts showing live views of the eclipse online. 

During the Super Flower Blood Moon, the full moon of May (known as the Flower Moon) will pass through Earth's shadow, causing it to appear red. This is why total lunar eclipses are commonly called "blood moons." At around the same time, the moon will reach perigee, or the closest point to Earth in its current orbit. This will make it appear slightly bigger than an average full moon, making it a "supermoon," too. 

Super Flower Blood Moon 2021: When and how to see the total lunar eclipse

Griffith Observatory

Weather permitting, the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles plans to stream live views of the Super Flower Blood Moon on Wednesday (May 26) beginning at 4:45 a.m. EDT (0845 GMT) — just two minutes before the penumbral phase of the lunar eclipse begins. The broadcast will end at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT), shortly after the last partial phase of the eclipse has ended. 

You can watch the Griffith Observatory's webcast live in the window above, courtesy of the observatory, or tune in via YouTube. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the observatory said on its website that it will not host a public, in-person event for this eclipse as it has done in the past. 

Lowell Observatory

The Lowell Observatory — where the dwarf planet Pluto was famously discovered — will also broadcast live views of the eclipse from multiple telescopes at its facility in Flagstaff, Arizona. 

Starting at 5:30 a.m. EDT (0930 GMT), "Lowell educators will show you live views of the eclipse through our 14” Planewave telescope and wide-view portable Vixen telescopes," the observatory said in a statement. "Educators will also discuss the science of eclipses, the best ways to view them, Lowell’s history with the Moon, and much more!"

This event ends at 7:25 a.m. EDT (1125 GMT). You can watch it live in the window above, courtesy of Lowell Observatory, or on YouTube.

European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) will stream a live broadcast of the Super Flower Blood Moon also beginning at 5:30 a.m. EDT (0930 GMT). ESA's webcast lasts for two hours, wrapping up about five minutes after the end of the eclipse's full phase.

Because the total lunar eclipse won't be visible from Europe, the webcast will show live video views of the moon from CSIRO (the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia's national science agency) as well as from ESA's deep-space tracking facility in New Norcia, Western Australia. 

ESA's live eclipse program "will explain the basic science behind a lunar eclipse and highlight ESA's ambitious plans for the next decade of space exploration, including the Orion Service Module, the deep-space Gateway, high-speed communication, a network of data-relay orbiters and the cutting-edge technology needed to support sustainable exploration on and beneath the lunar surface," agency officials said in a statement

Several astronomers, scientists, engineers and other experts from Europe and Australia will provide live commentary during ESA's webcast, including: 

  • Suzy Jackson, New Norcia Station Manager, CSIRO
  • Ines Belgacem, planetary scientist, ESA
  • Malcolm Davidson, ESA Earth & Mission Sciences Division
  • Juergen Schlutz, ESA Moon Strategy Officer
  • Elodie Viau, ESA's director of telecommunications
  • Loredana Bessone, ESA astronaut trainer
  • Gianfranco Vicente, head of ESA's Automation and Robotics group
  • James Carpenter, Exploration Science Coordinator, ESA
  • Karen Lee-Waddell, director of the Australian Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Regional Centre 

You can watch ESA's Super Flower Blood Moon webcast live here on ESA Web TV or on the ESA website

The Virtual Telescope Project

The Virtual Telescope Project, an online observatory founded by astrophysicist Gianluca Masi of the Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory in Italy, will stream two live broadcasts of the big lunar event: one for the eclipse and another for the supermoon. Astrophysicist Gianluca Masi, founder of the Virtual Telescope Project, will provide live commentary. 

First, on Wednesday (May 26), the Virtual Telescope will webcast live views of the lunar eclipse, beginning at 6 a.m. EDT (1000 GMT). The webcast will feature shots from astrophotographers in Australia, New Zealand and the Americas. The moon sets in Rome at 5:34 a.m. local time, or 14 minutes before the moment of maximum eclipse, so the best views will come from these remote cameras.

Then at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT), Masi returns with a second live stream to show the biggest supermoon of the year rising over the skyline of Rome. You can watch both events live in the window above, courtesy of the Virtual Telescope Project, or directly via Masi's YouTube channel.

Time and Date

Time and Date, an interactive website that offers a variety of tools for skywatching and time zone conversions, will also provide a live webcast of the Super Flower Blood Moon, beginning at 5:30 a.m. EDT (0930 GMT). The webcast will feature live views from around the world, and you can follow along with the photographers' adventures in this live blog

You can watch it live here in the window above, courtesy of Time and Date, or directly via YouTube. Also, to find out what the eclipse will look like from any given location, be sure to check out Time and Date's eclipse maps and calculators

Stages of the "Super Flower Blood Moon" lunar eclipse on May 26, 2021
EventTime
Penumbral eclipse begins4:47 a.m. EDT (0847 GMT)
Partial eclipse begins5:44 a.m. EDT (0944 GMT)
Full eclipse begins7:11 a.m. EDT (1111 GMT)
Maximum eclipse7:18 a.m. EDT (1118 GMT)
Full eclipse ends7:25 a.m. EDT (1125 GMT)
Partial eclipse ends8:52 a.m. EDT (1252 GMT)
Penumbral eclipse ends9:49 a.m. EDT (1349 GMT)

Editor's note: This article was updated to include ESA's webcast. 

Email Hanneke Weitering at hweitering@space.com or follow her on Twitter @hannekescience. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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Hanneke Weitering

SPACE.COM EDITOR — Hanneke joined the team at Space.com in August 2016 as a staff writer and producer. She has previously written for Scholastic, MedPage Today and Oak Ridge National Lab. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her home town of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. She is currently based in Seattle, home of the Space Needle.