See the'Super Flower Blood Moon' from orbit as only astronauts could (photos)

Astronauts in the International Space Station (ISS) acquired a spectacular perspective of May's lunar eclipse from orbit. Images from NASA show the moon partially obscured by Earth's shadow, with parts of the ISS visible in the foreground. At one stage, astronauts could see the partial eclipse intersect with the Earth's horizon.

See the'Super Flower Blood Moon' from orbit as only astronauts could (photos)

Astronauts in the International Space Station (ISS) acquired a spectacular perspective of May's lunar eclipse from orbit. Images from NASA show the moon partially obscured by Earth's shadow, with parts of the ISS visible in the foreground. At one stage, astronauts could see the partial eclipse intersect with the Earth's horizon.

TheEditor
TheEditor
10 June 2021 Thursday 08:56
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See the'Super Flower Blood Moon' from orbit as only astronauts could (photos)

Unfortunately, ISS astronauts didn't get to see the complete, five-hour-long eclipse on May 25, nor did they see the"blood moon" turn red during the total phase of the lunar eclipse, which lasted for about 15 minutes. The Earth obscured their view at this critical moment, Dan Huot, a NASA spokesperson with the Johnson Space Center in Houston, told Space.com within an email.

Some audiences on Earth, but did get to see that the"blood moon" -- also known as the Super Flower Blood Moon because it coincided with a supermoon and also the Full Flower Moon of May. Since the Flower Moon occurred when the moon was close perigee, the nearest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit, it appeared slightly larger than ordinary, a phenomenon referred to as a"supermoon."

During totality, which occurs when the moon passes through Earth's dark, inner shadow called the umbra, the moon seemed red. That happens because the moon reflects light from every sunrise and sunset on Earth while our world's air filters out blue light, according to NASA.

Although the ISS astronauts didn't get to watch the red moon, they did have two opportunities to view the partial eclipse, Huot said. The partial eclipse was visible from the space station at around 7:02 a.m. EDT (1102 GMT), less than 10 minutes before totality started. The astronauts needed a second screening opportunity at 8:36 a.m. EDT (1236 GMT), about 15 minutes before the partial eclipse ended as the moon arose from Earth's umbral shadow. Throughout both views, the ISS was over the south Atlantic.

The ISS, which orbits the Earth at an altitude of about 248 miles (400 km ) and a speed of about 17,500 mph (28,000 km/h), completes one trip around the globe about once every 90 minutes. This usually means that the team onboard will encounter about 16 moonrises and moonsets every day, along with 16 sunrises and sunsets.

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