Cloudy Skies Frustrate Stargazers From Seeing the Super Flower Moon Eclipse

Published May 28, 2021, 9:00 AM

by Robert D. Reyes

It was in July 2018 when the Philippines saw its last Total Lunar Eclipse, that is why many of us were excited to see the Super Flower Moon eclipse last Wednesday evening, 26 May 2021. What makes the last lunar eclipse special was it being a supermoon, too.

But what is a supermoon? A supermoon is a full moon (or in some cases, a new moon) that almost coincides with perigee, or when the closest that the Moon comes to the Earth in its elliptic orbit. This phenomenon results in a slightly larger-than-usual apparent size of the lunar disk as viewed from Earth — also known as perigee-syzygy (full Moon around perigee).

Using my trusted armada of smartphone apps for stargazing and Moon spotting, I was monitoring the weather via Weather Underground and Windy, as well as the sky visibility as early as 3:00 PM — it was still clear with a matching heat index of 43˚C (according to my Google Home — that “Hey, Google” thingy) — until around 6:00pm as the sky fades into darkness. By this time, I am already trying to locate where the Moon will appear on the horizon using the SkyView app. But little did I forget, I am in a concrete jungle! The Moon will just be above the horizon during the peak of the lunar eclipse. This is when I decided to go somewhere high — like the topmost part of the pedestrian overpass at the MRT Magallanes Station.

Finally, I reached the “summit” of the MRT Magallanes Station overpass but it was too bright in that area that my camera finds it hard to focus on the Moon while I zoom-in — and it was almost the peak of the eclipse!

This was the only good photo I snapped at the peak of the lunar eclipse:

Full Moon Eclipse Shot from MRT Magallanes

Capturing the peak of the Super Flower Moon Eclipse #FAIL. So, I decided to head back to my usual moon spotting location along the highway. I waited patiently for the carpet of clouds to move away to have at least a snapshot of the Partial Lunar Eclipse.

Using the SkyView app to locate where the Moon is behind the carpet of clouds

Finally, at around 8:49pm, I was able to snap a decent photo of the Moon, this time it was just partially covered by the Earth’s shadow:

Super Flower Moon last May 26 2021

Truly when nature says “no!” even if you have the right gadgets and software, luck will not be on your side. Better luck next time to us, that would be on 08 November 2022 when we will see the next Total Lunar Eclipse.