Lunar Eclipse

A nearly total lunar eclipse occurs in the early morning of November 19, peaking at 4:03 AM EST.

A nearly total lunar eclipse occurs in the early morning of November 19, peaking at 4:03 AM EST.

November 18, 2021| Category: Space Science

Early in the morning on Friday, November 19th, Vermont, and most of North America, will experience a partial lunar eclipse. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon moves into the Earth’s shadow. This means that the moon is exactly opposite the sun. The full “Beaver Moon” will move into the Earth’s shadow starting at 2:19 AM EST, and reach its peak at 4:03 AM EST. At this point, more than 97% of the moon will be covered, and it will likely turn a deep red, but only for a short period of time. The “nearly total” eclipse will cover all of the moon except a small bright sliver on one edge.

The November 19th partial lunar eclipse will last over 3 hours and 28 minutes, making it the longest partial lunar eclipse to occur in 580 years.

During an eclipse, two shadows are cast. The first is called the umbra (UM bruh). This shadow gets smaller as it goes away from the sun. It is the dark center of the eclipse shadow. The second shadow is called the penumbra (pe NUM bruh). The penumbra gets larger as it goes away from the sun. (NASA)

The moon will appear red for a period of time surrounding the peak of the eclipse because of the same effect we observe at sunset. Sunlight will beam through the Earth’s atmosphere at such an angle that a red, sunset-like color is projected onto the moon. This process is called Rayleigh scattering.

To view the lunar eclipse, simply go outside and find the moon. Telescopes and binoculars are not necessary, but may help if you want a closer view. The moon will be visible low in the west. The best viewing will occur between 3:45 and 4:20 AM EST, when the moon moves out of the Earth’s shadow enough that the colors will no longer be visible. The eclipse officially lasts until 7:04 AM.

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Tune in next month on December 2 for Night Owl Club, and keep up with the latest celestial happenings with the Eye on the Night Sky.

 


Eclipse viewing on November 18-19, 2021. (Observer’s Handbook, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada)

 

 

Tags: astronomy, Eye on the Night Sky, Lunar Eclipse