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May 16, 2022, 11:36 a.m. EDT

Neil deGrasse Tyson calls blood moon ‘unspectacular,’ but many lunar eclipse viewers disagree

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By Rachel Koning Beals

When Russia’s attacks on Ukraine , a baby formula shortage and a weekend of mass shootings makes life on Earth that much harder, it can be therapeutic to look to the heavens. And on Sunday night, a total lunar eclipse that created a glowing red “blood moon” united many across the planet in a healing sense of wonder for a short time.

But one celebrity astrophysicist cast a shadow on the celestial event. The unimpressed and outspoken television personality Neil deGrasse Tyson just wasn’t having this pop culture embrace of science for the masses. He called lunar eclipses in general “unspectacular” in a tweet that went viral on Sunday.

His ambivalence stemmed in part from lunar eclipses occurring every few years, he explained.

A full moon in May is known as a “flower moon” to reflect the bounty of blooms during the month, and #flowermoon was trending on Twitter throughout the event. But the lunar attraction was more famously labeled #bloodmoon. This is becaue the moon in total eclipse appears reddish in color when it is illuminated by sunlight filtered and refracted by the earth’s atmosphere.

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti shared a view from the International Space Station.

Others with clear views of the eclipse shared their photos online. And many on Twitter responded to Tyson’s tweet by wondering what was the harm in looking up in awe? “Did the moon cheat on you or something, you joyless pedant?” tweeted one skywatcher.

One father noted that the night’s real miracle was seeing his son to get excited about science, for a change.

Even the famously salty Twitter account from Wendy’s chimed in.

Others noted that the “Super Flower Blood Moon” was pretty spectacular, no matter how many you’ve seen. And even if your view was obstructed, livestreams and photos from around the world documented the eclipse for anyone to see.

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