The Beaver Moon lunar eclipse will begin at 7:18 a.m. on November 19 and last for just over 6 hours. The arrival of the sun shortly after its onset means UK viewers will miss the peak of the eclipse, which begins at 9:02 am and lasts 3 hours and 28 minutes.
The full moon peak – known as the beaver moon because it traditionally coincides with Native American tribes setting up their beaver traps – occurs at 8:57 GMT on Friday, but will appear full Thursday and Friday night.
Those in North and South America, as well as parts of East Asia, will have the best view of the full lunar eclipse.
It occurs less than six months after the last partial lunar eclipse, which occurred on May 26, 2021. This week’s lunar eclipse is just short of a total eclipse with 97.4% of the Moon’s diameter covered by the shadow of the Earth.
Only the southernmost edge will not be affected by the shadow.
The Moon will actually appear slightly red during the lunar eclipse due to a process known as Rayleigh scattering.
“The same phenomenon that makes our skies blue and our sunsets red causes the Moon to turn red during a lunar eclipse,” NASA explains on its website.
“Light travels in waves and different colors of light have different physical properties. Blue light has a shorter wavelength and is scattered more easily by particles in the Earth’s atmosphere than red light, which has a longer wavelength.
The American space agency continues: “Red light, on the other hand, travels more directly through the atmosphere. When the Sun is above us, we see blue light all over the sky. But when the sun goes down, the sunlight has to pass through more atmosphere and travel further before it reaches our eyes.
“During a lunar eclipse, the moon turns red because the only sunlight reaching the moon passes through the Earth’s atmosphere.” The more dust or clouds there are in the Earth’s atmosphere during the eclipse, the redder the Moon will appear.
It is this effect that sometimes leads to lunar eclipses to be called “blood” moons.
The weather in the UK will be generally clear Thursday and Friday evening, according to the Met Office forecast, although parts of the north and west will be shrouded in clouds and could miss the heavenly spectacle.