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Photograph: Yu Kato/Unsplash

A total lunar eclipse is happening over Melbourne this May

These happen a handful of times a decade, so all you stargazers won’t want to miss it

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Written by
Rebecca Russo
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Strawberry moons, taco moons and super blood flower moons all sound like hit singles from Tame Impala, but in fact, they’re names for legitimate types of celestial events. Last month we saw a super pink moon grace the skies over Melbourne which was cool and all, but on May 26 there’s something even better.

A rare super blood moon (and a total lunar eclipse) is happening on Wednesday, May 26 at the very reasonable start time of 6.47pm. 

The eclipse will be fully visible in Melbourne – but, as per usual, it will depend on whether there is cloud cover. The fact that it’s a “super” moon means this moon will also be at its closest point to Earth within its monthly orbit, making it look slightly larger in the sky than usual. 

Total lunar eclipses occur when Earth’s shadow briefly covers the face of a full moon, turning it a shade of crimson (hence the name "blood moon"). Total lunar eclipses, like solar eclipses, only happen a handful of times in a decade, and this time, Melbourne has some great front row seats to view it. 

The eclipse will begin just before 7pm and will reach its maximum (when the moon is closest to the centre of the shadow) at 9.18pm before finishing at 11.49pm. 

The Astronomical Society of Victoria is hosting a special event at Caulfield Racecourse Reserve to celebrate the blood moon eclipse. It’s free to attend, though the not-for-profit will be accepting gold coin donations. Book a spot.

If you want a guaranteed front-row seat to the celestial spectacle, you can even head up to Sydney for this specially chartered Qantas flight.

Related: these are the best spots to stargaze near Melbourne

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