The celestial event will cause what's known as a blood moon, which occurs when the Earth's moon is in a total lunar eclipse and transforms the object from white-grey to reddish brown.
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Credit: Carlos Manchego / 500px / Getty Images

The first lunar eclipse of the year is slated for April 30, but a second one will follow not too long after. Some time between the late evening of May 15 and early morning of May 16 a full flower moon will enter Earth's shadow and cause a total lunar eclipse. Space.com reports that sky gazers can spot the celestial event from areas around the world, including in most of the Americas and Antartica, as well as the western reaches of Europe and Africa, and the eastern side of the Pacific.

The eclipse is predicted to begin at around 10:28 p.m. eastern standard time and will reach its peak on May 16 at 12:11 a.m. The penumbral eclipse, which is what observers in New Zealand, eastern Europe, and the Middle East will experience, is expected to begin an hour earlier and end about an hour after the partial eclipse. As the full moon begins to totally obscure the sun, don't be surprised to see a reddish hue fall over the astronomical object. Referred to as a blood moon, the phenomenon occurs when the Earth's moon is in a total lunar eclipse and transforms the white-grey object to a striking red.

According to NASA, a solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between Earth and the Sun and blocks the sun as it appears from Earth. There are three types of the celestial occurrence: penumbral, partial and total. A penumbral eclipse is when the moon passes through the outer part of Earth's shadow, which causes a slight dimming of the surface of the moon. A partial eclipse is when the part of the moon enters the Earth's darkest shadow and gives the sun a crescent shape. Finally, there's a total eclipse, which is what will occur this mid-May when the entire moon enters the darkest part of Earth's shadow.

During a total eclipse, both the penumbral and partial phases will occur until the moon completely obscures the sun. It's not uncommon for a blood moon to happen during a total eclipse, which Space.com says is due to light refracting around Earth, causing the light waves to stretch out and appear on the redder side of the spectrum when they reach the moon. If you miss the incredible event this month, there will be another one happening later this year on November 8.

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