When and how to see the lunar eclipse (and yes, the 'super moon')

On Wednesday, the moon will glide through Earth’s shadow giving us the only total lunar eclipse of the year and the first one since January 2019.

Total lunar eclipse will mainly be visible in the Pacific region, though some parts of Canada might get a view

This combination photo shows the moon during a total lunar eclipse, known as the 'Super Blood Wolf Moon,' in Brussels on Jan. 21, 2019, the last time we had a total lunar eclipse. (Yves Herman/Reuters)

On Wednesday, the moon will glide through Earth's shadow, giving us the only total lunar eclipse of the year and the first one since January 2019.

The only problem is that totality isn't visible across the entire country, and you'll have to be up very early in the morning to catch it with a good view of the western horizon as the eclipse begins as the moon is setting.

This eclipse is dubbed the "super flower blood moon" eclipse by some, and here's why.

First, it's a "super moon," a term that has gained popularity over the past decade. A "super moon" refers to a full moon that is closest to Earth in its monthly orbit. (It's not a term used by astronomers, though many have opted to use it in outreach.) To the naked eye, it will be difficult to see the size difference between an average full moon and this one. 

Second, each month's full moon is given a name by Farmer's Almanac. In this case, May's moon is the "flower moon" due to the time of year when flowers begin to bloom.

And finally, the "blood moon" refers to the colour a moon can turn during totality, or when it is entirely in Earth's shadow.

Events for the total lunar eclipse on the morning of May 26 using co-ordinated universal time. (Leah Tiscione/Sky & Telescope; Source: USNO)

Earth actually has two shadows, a penumbra — which is faint — and an umbra. However, when the moon passes through the penumbra, it's almost undetectable to the human eye.

Wednesday's eclipse will be visible in its entirety in the Pacific and in most of Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. 

There are several phases to a total lunar eclipse, beginning with the penumbral, then the partial, then totality. As the moon moves out of the umbra, the phases reverse.

Some local times

In Canada, the eclipse will begin in the east just as the moon is setting. All that will be visible will be the penumbral, which you likely won't be able to discern. 

Across the rest of Canada, you'll have to get up quite early to see any of the eclipse.

The moon enters the penumbra at 8:47 UTC (co-ordinated universal time, which is used for all astronomical events), or 4:47 a.m. ET, but it's likely you'll barely notice it.

The partial phase begins at 9:45 ET. For those in the east, the moon will be below the horizon.

For those in Manitoba and to the west (also including the Northwest Territories), you'll get a better view than those in parts of central Ontario will. For those Ontarians, the moon will be low on the horizon and look like a sliver is missing from it.

  • Winnipeg: The partial phase begins at 4:44 a.m. local time, but the moon will set at 5:37 a.m.
  • Edmonton and Calgary: The partial phase begins at 3:44 a.m.; totality begins at 5:11 a.m. and ends at 5:25 a.m. The moon sets at 5:42 a.m.
  • Vancouver: The partial phase begins at 2:44 a.m.; totality begins at 4:11 a.m. and ends at 4:25 a.m. The moon sets at 5:26 a.m.

For those who may want to catch it and may have clouds, you can always watch it online through the Virtual Telescope or with the Lowell Telescope's YouTube channel.

This map shows locations worldwide from which the May 26 total lunar eclipse will be visible, weather permitting. Because an eclipsed moon is always full, the moon sets (or rises) at almost the same time as the sun rises (or sets) on the opposite horizon. For Canada, views improve farther west. (Leah Tiscione / Sky & Telescope; Source: USNO)

If you miss this eclipse, you can see the next one on Nov. 19. While technically it is considered a partial lunar eclipse, only a sliver will remain outside the umbra, so for all intents and purposes, it will look like a total lunar eclipse.

Also, coming up on June 10, there will be an annular solar eclipse, where the moon will only partially cover the sun.


Nicole Mortillaro

Senior reporter, science

Based in Toronto, Nicole covers all things science for CBC News. As an amateur astronomer, Nicole can be found looking up at the night sky appreciating the marvels of our universe. She is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the author of several books. In 2021, she won the Kavli Science Journalism Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science for a Quirks and Quarks audio special on the history and future of Black people in science. You can send her story ideas at


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?