'Flower Moon' in UAE: Residents in for a magnificent celestial 'bloom' on May 22

Due to the exceptional brightness of the Moon, residents of the country will be able to observe it without the need for telescopes or binoculars


Nandini Sircar

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Reuters photo used for illustrative purposes
Reuters photo used for illustrative purposes

Published: Wed 15 May 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 15 May 2024, 11:10 PM

For those who enjoy stargazing, it may be worthwhile to keep an eye out for May's full moon, dubbed as the Flower Moon, that will grace the UAE’s night sky on May 22.

This phenomenon is called the 'Flower Moon' because it typically coincides with the blooming of flowers in many parts of the world.

In Dubai, due to the exceptional brightness of the Flower Moon, residents of the country will be able to observe it without the need for telescopes or binoculars.

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Vantage point for photographs

To capture the Moon in photographs, the optimal moment is during its rise.

Hasan Al Hariri, CEO, Dubai Astronomy Group, said, “The best time for pictures is when the moon rises. It is advised that people should go to a high point or find an unobstructed area for the best view of the Flower Moon.”

Other names include the Planting Moon, and the Milk Moon, while some named it the Hare Moon.

However, the popular name ‘Flower Moon’ has its origins in Native American and Colonial American traditions.

Sarath Raj, Project Director – Amity Dubai Satellite Ground Station and AmiSat, Amity University Dubai says, “Each full moon was given a name reflecting the season and natural cycles. Since May is a time of renewal and growth, with flowers blooming in many parts of the world, the full moon in May was named the ‘Flower Moon’ to honor this natural phenomenon.”

The phenomenon behind the full moon itself is due to the moon's position in its orbit around the Earth. “During its orbit, the moon goes through various phases.” It’s explained that during the full moon phase, the Moon appears to be very bright and visible for most of the night, rising at dusk and setting at dawn.

“The full moon phase occurs when the moon sits on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun, with its entire illuminated side facing Earth. This is why the full moon appears so bright and visible for most of the night, rising around sunset and setting around sunrise.”

Moon to set at 2am

While the difference in size and brightness compared to a regular full moon might be subtle, experts explained the Flower Moon will still be a magnificent sight due to its position in the constellation Leo and its path across the night sky.

“On the evenings of May 22 and 23, the Flower Moon will be a captivating sight in the night sky of Dubai. This full moon, positioned in the constellation Leo, will rise around sunset and climb high in the sky, reaching a maximum altitude of 29 degrees above the horizon. Shining brightly with a magnitude of -10.37, it will be visible throughout the night until it sets at around 2am the following morning.”

Raj stressed that the Moon's actual distance from Earth during a full moon can vary. It can range from around 225,000 miles (363,000 kilometres) to 252,000 miles (406,000 kilometres).

Other celestial events in May

There is not just the Flower Moon in May for Dubai's skygazers. The dazzling Eta Aquariid meteor shower, known for its fast, bright meteors, peaked around May 5 and 6.

Raj added, “But skywatchers can still catch occasional glimpses throughout the month until May 27. This shower, a leftover from Halley's Comet, offered around 100 meteors per hour at its peak during the pre-dawn hours.”


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