There are taco moons and strawberry moons, blue moons and blood moons, but the king of all lunar spectacles has to be the supermoon. This cosmic showstopper occurs when a full moon coincides with the moon’s closest approach to the earth, which only happens a couple of times each year. Rarer still is a super lunar eclipse, also known by the infinitely cooler name, super blood wolf moon. This occurs thanks to a hat trick of celestial serendipity when the earth’s shadow briefly turns the face of a full supermoon an eerie shade of crimson. Such an orbital-mechanics jackpot takes place but a handful of times in a decade, and it just so happens that one of these vanishingly precious occasions is set to occur later this month.
You can of course roll the dice and keep your fingers crossed for clear skies, but as the Southern Hemisphere barrels steadily towards winter, the chances of cloud cover on that fateful night, May 26, are worryingly high. So, why not take the clouds out of the equation altogether and get even closer to this wonder of the night sky?
Courtesy of Qantas, you can take a specially chartered supermoon flight, for the express purpose of seeing the super blood wolf moon in all its glory. The nation’s flagship airline is laying on just a single supermoon flight, departing from Sydney, so be sure to quite literally thank your lucky stars as you soar towards the best views of the supermoon in the Southern Hemisphere.
Aboard the B787 Dreamliner, one of the fleet’s most recent acquisitions, just 100 lucky passengers will get to line the aircraft's window seats for the three-hour hop, which will include some scenic flyovers of Sydney’s picture-perfect harbour and CBD, just to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Take-off is at 9.18pm, precisely timed to ensure the plane reaches its cruising altitude of 43,000ft at the optimal moment of the eclipse. Making sure you don’t miss a second of the action, CSIRO astronomer Dr Vanessa Moss, who has also helped design the flight path, will be on hand to deliver live commentary.
A guaranteed view of this awesome event does not come cheap, however. Economy seats will set you back $499, while premium economy takes the bill to $899. The priciest seats, in business class, won’t cost you the moon, but they’re still an eyewatering $1499 per person. But while your wallet may be groaning, your conscience can be clear in the knowledge that Qantas plans to offset 100 per cent of the flight’s carbon emissions.
Qantas' supermoon flight will depart Sydney Domestic Airport (T3) at 7.30pm on Wednesday, May 26. Tickets go on sale at noon on Tuesday, May 12.