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Look Up: Skywatchers Await The ‘Flower Moon’ In Its Full Regal Bloom

11 May 2017, 2:49 am EDT By Katrina Pascual Tech Times
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The Native Americans name every full moon of the year. The one from last month was dubbed the "Pink Moon," a symbol of spring’s arrival. May’s full moon is called "Flower Moon" as it rises just when flowers are starting to blossom.   ( Ethan Miller | Getty Images )

Skywatchers are in for a wonderful treat on May 10, Wednesday, from the May full moon, also known as the Flower Moon.

The nighttime spectacle happens at 5:42 p.m. Eastern time, where the moon appears in the constellation Libra and shows off its moment of fullness afterwards. While not everyone in the Northern Hemisphere will be able to see the moon in this full display, those in the East Coast will still see it full in the sky, with about 8 p.m. as the best time to go outside and observe.

‘Flower Moon’: Tribal Origins And Variations

The Native Americans name every full moon of the year. The one from last month was dubbed the Pink Moon, a symbol of spring’s arrival. May’s full moon, on the other hand, is called Flower Moon as it rises just when flowers are starting to blossom.

The Great Lakes’ Ojibwe tribes call it “Waawaaskone Giizis” (Flower Moon), pertaining to the time when plants demonstrate their spirit side and an opportunity for spiritual exploration. The moon also symbolizes health and recovery, particularly as plants maintain healing properties that are unleashed when the plants bloom.

The months getting warmer, too, are considered a great time for fertility and bearing children.

May’s full moon is called different names in different cultures. It’s referred to as the Milk Moon, for instance, with the start of milkweed blooming.

The Cree peoples in Montana, Minnesota, as well as some parts of Canada label it as “Athikipisim” (Frog Moon) — representing the time when frogs awaken and chirp. For the Algonquins, it’s the Corn Plating Moon due to the beginning of the corn-planting season.

In China, this full moon is known as Huayue occurring during the month of the Locust Tree, while in Muslim nations this very moon takes place during the month of Shaban or the period preceding Ramadan.

What To Remember About This May’s Full Moon

Space.com reported that the Flower Moon will not pass any planet just like April’s moon did, but it will cross quite a dark patch of sky, meaning the appearance of Earth’s satellite will become much more pronounced. It will be framed by Scorpion “claws” to the left of the Northern Hemisphere and the Beta Librae to the northeast.

Even in places where the sky looks dim, this full moon will be washing out the neighboring dimmer stars of certain constellations. One can count on a more massive Flower Moon: it is closer to the horizon, and the fact that it’s not crossing paths with nearby stars or planets means it will shine brighter than expected.

One should also take note that during this full moon, the moon will be in the night sky for a shorter timeframe than the sun, as it is running below the celestial equator and therefore following a shorter path and quicker rotations around the planet. Experts estimate that it will stay for only about 10 hours in the horizon.

For example, the moon will stay in the sky for 10 hours, 40 minutes in New York, while the sun will be up for about 14 hours, 17 minutes.

So the farther north someone is, the more significant the effect will be. Southern Hemisphere fans get the reverse: Australians are now gearing up for winter, with the sun hovering low and the full moon mighty high for great viewing.

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