Last supermoon of 2020: NASA’s top tips for May skywatchers

Skywatchers are set to enjoy the last supermoon of 2020 in May when the flower moon lights up the sky.

The moon will be full on May 7 at 6:45 a.m. ET, according to NASA. The full moon is also the last supermoon of the year.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac notes that the moon will not actually be visible when it reaches peak illumination at 6:45 a.m. ET on May 7. “It will be below the horizon at this time, so plan to venture outdoors the night before (Wednesday, May 6) or on Thursday night to get the best view of the bright full Flower Moon!” it says on its website.

WHAT IS A SUPERMOON?

“This May 2020 full moon presents the third and final full moon supermoon of 2020, showcasing the 3rd-closest (and therefore the 3rd-largest) full moon of the year,” says the EarthSky website.

The full moon, known as the flower moon, rises behind St Mary's Lighthouse just north of Whitley Bay - May 10, 2017 - file photo. (Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)

The full moon, known as the flower moon, rises behind St Mary's Lighthouse just north of Whitley Bay - May 10, 2017 - file photo. (Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)

Two meteor showers, the Eta-Aquariids and the Eta-Lyrids, are also expected to peak in early May, although NASA notes that the light of the nearly full moon will interfere with visibility.

Supermoons happen when the moon’s elliptical orbit brings it to the closest point to the Earth while the moon is full. The phrase was coined in 1979, according to NASA.

SUPER PINK MOON THRILLS SKYWATCHERS

The May full moon is known as the Flower Moon. “As the second full Moon of spring, the Native American tribes of the northeastern United States called this the Flower Moon, as flowers are abundant this time of year in most of these areas,” explains NASA on its website. “Other names include the Corn Planting Moon or the Milk Moon.”

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Skywatchers recently enjoyed the April full moon, or pink moon, which was the largest supermoon of 2020. The stunning March full moon, or worm moon, was also a supermoon.

The Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers