May’s full Moon reaches its peak on Wednesday, May 26! This full Moon will be the closest full Moon of the year, making it the second of two supermoons—don’t miss it! Plus, it will coincide with a total lunar eclipse in some areas. Here’s everything you should know about this month’s full Moon, including how it came to be called the “Flower Moon.”
When to See the Full Moon in May 2021
May’s full Flower Moon reaches peak illumination at 7:14 A.M. (EDT) on Wednesday, May 26. It will be very close to or below the horizon at this time, so plan to venture outdoors the night before (Tuesday, May 25) or on Wednesday night to get the best view of the bright full Flower Moon! Find a location with unobstructed views of the horizon, if possible. See what time the Moon will be visible in your area with our Moonrise and Moonset Calculator.
A “Blood Moon” Total Lunar Eclipse… If You’re Lucky
This month’s full Moon coincides with a total lunar eclipse! A lunar eclipse occurs when Earth stands directly between the Moon and the Sun, which results in Earth casting its shadow on the Moon. During a total lunar eclipse, the Moon is fully obscured by Earth’s shadow, giving the Moon a reddish hue. This phenomenon is where the term “blood moon” comes from.
Don’t get your hopes up too high for this one, though. This total lunar eclipse occurs in the pre-dawn hours of May 26 and will only be visible for stargazers in western North America, western South America, eastern Asia, and Oceania. Those who are located near the Rocky Mountains will be able to catch a glimpse of the partial lunar eclipse before the Moon sets below the horizon, but those further east won’t see much of anything at all, since the Moon will already be below the horizon at the time of the eclipse. Even on the West Coast, the Moon will be so low in the sky during the eclipse that you’ll need to find a high vantage point with a clear view of the western horizon.
The Moon will enter the outer edge of Earth’s shadow (called the “penumbra”) at 1:46 A.M. PDT and reach the darkest part of its shadow (the “umbra”) at 2:45 A.M. PDT, which is when the partial eclipse begins. The total eclipse will last from 4:11 A.M. PDT to 4:26 A.M. PDT. The Moon will leave the umbra at 5:53 A.M. PDT and the penumbra at 6:51 A.M. PDT.
Super Flower Moon: The Closest Supermoon of 2021
Two supermoons occur in 2021—the first was April’s Pink Moon and the second will be May’s Flower Moon.
When the full Moon appears this month, it will be ever-so-slightly closer to Earth than it was in April, meaning that May’s Flower Moon will be the biggest and brightest full Moon of the year—technically speaking. To the naked eye, May’s full Moon won’t actually look any bigger or brighter than April’s, since the Moon’s distance from Earth differs by less than 100 miles between April and May. This is a miniscule distance in the grand scale of space, but we will still see a bright, beautiful supermoon nonetheless!
|Name||Date||Distance from Earth|
|Full Pink Moon||April 26 at 11:33 P.M. EDT||222,211.7 miles (357,615 km)|
|Full Flower Moon||May 26 at 7:14 A.M. EDT||222,116.6 miles (357,462 km)|
|Perigee distance data courtesy of Fred Espenak, www.Astropixels.com.|
On average, supermoons are about 7% bigger and about 15% brighter than a typical full Moon. Learn more about supermoons here!
Why Is It Called the Flower Moon?
The full Moon names used by The Old Farmer’s Almanac come from a number of places, including Native American, Colonial American, and European sources. Traditionally, each full Moon name was applied to the entire lunar month in which it occurred, not solely to the full Moon.
The Flower Moon
May’s Flower Moon name should be no surprise; flowers spring forth across North America in abundance this month!
- “Flower Moon” has been attributed to Algonquin peoples, as confirmed by Christina Ruddy of The Algonquin Way Cultural Centre in Pikwakanagan, Ontario.
- May’s Moon was also referred to as the “Month of Flowers” by Jonathan Carver in his 1798 publication, Travels Through the Interior Parts of North America: 1766, 1767, 1768 (pp. 250-252), as a likely Dakota name. Carver stayed with the Naudowessie (Dakota) over a period of time; his expedition covered the Great Lakes region, including Wisconsin and Minnesota areas.
- Henry David Thoreau sparked to Native American Moon names as well, referencing the Flower Moon and Carver when he wrote about Native Americans.
Alternative May Moon Names
May’s Moon names tend to speak to the arrival of spring and all that it entails!
The Cree names Budding Moon and Leaf Budding Moon celebrate the awakening of local flora, which really begin to leaf out now in many areas. Similarly, Planting Moon (Dakota, Lakota) marks the time when seeds should be started for the farming season ahead.
The activities of animals marked spring’s arrival, too, which is highlighted by the Cree names Egg Laying Moon and Frog Moon, as well as the Oglala term Moon of the Shedding Ponies. All three names indicate that warmer weather is on the way!
Moon Phases for May 2021
All dates and times are EDT. See our Moon Phase Calendar for times in your location.
|Last Quarter: May 3, 3:51 P.M. EDT|
|New Moon: May 11, 3:01 P.M. EDT|
|Last Quarter: May 19, 3:13 P.M. EDT|
|Full Moon: May 26, 7:14 A.M. EDT|
When is the next full Moon? Find out in our Full Moon Dates chart.
Full Flower Moon Video
Each month, we will explain the traditional names of the full Moon along with some Moon facts. Click below to watch the video and learn about May’s Full Flower Moon.
Best Days in May 2021
Below are the best days for activities, based on the Moon’s sign and phase in May.
- Planting aboveground crops: 15, 16, 24, 25
- Planting belowground crops: 5, 6
For Setting Eggs:
- 3, 4, 21–23, 30, 31
Full Moon Folklore
- Clothes washed for the first time in the Full Moon will not last long.
- The Full Moon is an ideal time to accept a proposal of marriage.
Share your thoughts about the Moon below!