An epic lunar eclipse arrives tomorrow – the longest of its kind in 580 years – .

An epic lunar eclipse arrives tomorrow – the longest of its kind in 580 years – .

Space lovers will be in for a treat this week. Late Thursday night and until the early hours of Friday morning (in terms of US time zones), you will have the chance to witness the longest partial lunar eclipse in 580 years.

And don’t be fooled by the “partial” part – this lunar eclipse will be about as close as possible to a total eclipse, with over 97% of the full moon projected in a red tint by the shadow of the Earth (NASA says 99.1 percent will be covered, while the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles says 97 percent).

At its peak, only a tiny fraction of the Moon in the lower left corner will remain lit.

And while this isn’t the first lunar eclipse this year – we saw a total lunar eclipse in May – it’s going to be special.

The entire event will last just over six hours, and the Moon will spend three hours, 28 minutes, and 24 seconds traversing the darkest part of Earth’s shadow (its shadow) – making it the longest. partial lunar eclipse since 1441, and by far the longest in this century.

Lunar eclipses occur when the Earth passes between the Sun and the Moon, casting its shadow on our lunar satellite.

The Moon does not darken completely in the same way that the Sun is masked during a total solar eclipse. Instead, some sunlight passes through the Earth’s atmosphere, giving the Moon a strange red glow.

This red color gives the phenomenon its nickname “blood moon”.

The near-total eclipse will be visible on the night side of Earth, which includes North America, as well as Hawaii and parts of Russia and South America.

(NASA Science Visualization Studio)

Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China and Southeast Asia will be able to see it on the evening of Friday, November 19.

Those on the west coast of the United States will have optimal viewing conditions, as the Moon will begin to pass through the darkest part of Earth’s shadow at 11:18 p.m. Thursday night PST (07:18 UTC), and leave it at 2 : 47 p.m. Friday morning at PST (10:47 a.m. UTC).

During this time, the Moon will be high in the night sky for easy viewing.

Those closer to the east coast will need to get up early and look down to the western horizon. At EST, best viewing will start at 2:18 a.m. and end at 5:47 a.m. on Friday morning.

You can see a full graph showing the best viewing times for your location here.

The full moon in November is often referred to as the “beaver moon,” a name given by Native Americans due to the fact that November was traditionally the best time to trap beavers as they prepare for winter. According to NASA, it is also sometimes referred to as the freezing moon or the snow moon.

Why is the November lunar eclipse so long?

So why is this partial lunar eclipse so long? It happens just as the Moon is about to reach its peak – the farthest point from Earth in its orbit.

This means that it is also moving at its slowest speed in its orbit and taking its time passing through the shadow of our planet.

For comparison, the May lunar eclipse was one hour shorter, lasting a total of five hours and 2 minutes, and with the darkest part of Earth’s shadow passing overhead. of the Moon for only two hours and 53 minutes.

(NASA Science Visualization Studio)

How to watch the November lunar eclipse

Depending on where you are, you will either have to get up later or get up early.

As mentioned above, the closer you are to the West Coast of the United States, the better the visualization will be with the Moon just above you.

Those on the east coast will have to look to the western horizon towards dawn. Those on the other side of the planet, in Australia, New Zealand and the eastern parts of Asia, will see the eclipse in the evening, as the moon begins to rise.

You will be able to clearly see the event with the naked eye and use binoculars or telescopes if you want a closer view.

For those who won’t be able to see the eclipse, or those facing bad weather, you can also watch the event online via the Los Angeles Griffith Observatory livestream below:

Unlike solar eclipses, you will not need any special equipment to view the eclipse, as there is no risk of injuring your eyes when looking at the Sun.

But it’s interesting that lunar eclipses typically occur a few weeks after a solar eclipse – and a total solar eclipse will occur on December 4. Unfortunately, only those in the Southern Ocean or Antarctica will be able to see the whole thing.

Still, this week’s lunar eclipse will be a spectacular opportunity to step outside, wrap yourself in a blanket, and take a moment to enjoy a brief moment of astronomical alignment and marvel at the shadow cast by our home planet.


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