May’s full Flower Moon to light up UAE skies today

Celestial ‘bloom’ will appear over the region on Thursday and into Friday morning

The Moon over the Illimani mountain in Bolivia on Wednesday. EPA
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UAE stargazers could be in for a treat this evening, with May's full moon expected to be significantly brighter than usual.

The Flower Moon, which traditionally signifies a change in season, is due to light up the sky from 5.53pm on Thursday.

Experts say the Moon will find position in the constellation of Leo, rising prominently after sunset and remaining at a high altitude until 2am.

The Moon will appear full for about three days the about this time, from Thursday night through to early Sunday evening. Those wishing to see the Flower Moon are advised to find high vantage points when the Moon is rising for the best view.

How full moons occur

The phenomenon behind the full moon is due to its position in its orbit of the Earth.

It takes place when the Sun and Moon are aligned on opposite sides of the Earth and the lunar surface is illuminated by the Sun.

This is different from a new moon, which takes place when it is positioned between the Earth and the Sun, allowing its unlit side to face the planet and making it invisible in the night sky.

People in the UAE witnessed the Pink Moon on April 23.

The Moon is not really pink during this celestial event, but gets its name after a plant known as "herb moss pink".

The next full moon is popularly known as the Strawberry Moon and will rise on June 21.

Why is it called Flower Moon?

There are 13 full moons in each lunar cycle and each is given a name to reflect the season.

This one signifies the start of the spring season in many parts of the world, when flowers are in full bloom.

It finds its origins in Native American traditions, with some calling it Planting Moon or Green Leaves Moon to signify the best time of year to plant crops.

It is also called Frog Moon, by an indigenous community in Canada, to mark when the amphibians tend to become active.

The Hare Moon is yet another name by some cultures that identified a hare or rabbit shape on the lunar surface, while Milk Moon is an old English name to mark a time in the year when cows could be milked three times a day.

The Flower Moon comes after the Eta Aquariid meteor shower peaked around May 5 and 6, with experts saying UAE residents can still catch glimpses of the meteors up until May 27.

Originating from Halley's Comet, it featured about 100 meteors an hour at its peak during predawn hours.

Updated: May 23, 2024, 11:59 AM