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A blood supermoon looms for Australia

Ben Domensino, Tuesday January 12, 2021 - 19:00 EDT

All of Australia will get to witness a supermoon undergo a total lunar eclipse this year.

On the night of May 26, 2021 in Australia, a total lunar eclipse will cause the moon to take on a red hue.

During a total lunar eclipse, the Earth's shadow prevents any direct sunlight from reaching the moon. However, some of the light passing through Earth's atmosphere is redirected towards the moon, which indirectly illuminates its surface.

This indirect light typically appears red because other colours, with shorter wavelengths, are filtered out by Earth's atmosphere.

Total lunar eclipses are often called blood moons because of this red shading that appears on the moon as it passes through our planet's shadow.

While a total lunar eclipse is enough to set the alarm for, this year's blood moon will coincide with a supermoon. While not a technical term, a supermoon refers to a full moon that occurs when the moon is near its closest point to Earth in a given orbit. Supermoons can appear slightly larger in the sky than regular full moons.

Fortunately, Australia will be in the right position to witness this year's blood supermoon in full. That is, unless clouds spoil the show.

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