A sight to behold: The longest partial lunar eclipse in almost 600 years coming Friday
KPRC 2 2Houston
- According to NASA, the eclipse will be three hours and 28 minutes long.
- You don’t need any special glasses to see it, unlike during a solar eclipse.
- A lunar eclipse happens when the sun, Earth, and a full moon form a near-perfect lineup in space.
The longest partial lunar eclipse in nearly 600 years will grace the night sky late Thursday night and early Friday across the entire country, weather permitting.
According to NASA, the eclipse will last three hours and 28 minutes, the longest partial eclipse of this century and the longest in 580 years.
For East Coast observers, the partial eclipse begins a little after 2 a.m. Friday and reaches its maximum at 4 in the morning. For observers on the West Coast, it begins just after 11 p.m. Thursday and reaches a maximum at 1 a.m. Friday.
And you don’t need any special glasses to see it, unlike during a solar eclipse. All you need is to wake up and get out there, with a coat to keep warm for the chilly November night.
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“Partial lunar eclipses might not be quite as spectacular as total lunar eclipses – where the moon is completely covered in Earth’s shadow – but they occur more frequently,” NASA said.
A lunar eclipse happens when the sun, Earth and a full moon form a near-perfect lineup in space in what is known as syzygy, the American Astronomical Society said. The moon gradually glides into Earth’s shadow until most of the lunar disk turns from silvery gray to an eerie dim orange or red. Then events unfold in reverse order until the moon returns to full brilliance.
At maximum eclipse, the moon’s face will be 97% covered by the deepest part of the Earth’s shadow and will probably turn a deep red, Indiana’s Holcomb Observatory said. That leaves behind only a silvery sliver of the moon’s southern edge peeking out, according to the American Astronomical Society.
“The moon will be in Taurus and pleasingly placed some 6° – approximately the width of three fingers held together at arm’s length – lower left of the pretty Pleiades open star cluster at the time of maximum eclipse,” said Diana Hannikainen, observing editor at Sky & Telescope magazine. “This should provide great opportunities for some fun photos.”
November’s full moon is traditional known as the Beaver Moon, Space.com said, because beavers are preparing for winter, so this month’s sky show is known as the Beaver Moon eclipse.
This is the last lunar eclipse of the year. There will be two total lunar eclipses visible in most of the U.S. in 2022, one in May and the other in November, NASA said.