Here’s What You Need to Know About Friday’s Near-Total Lunar Eclipse
I had no idea that a near-total lunar eclipse was happening this weekend, but I’m so glad I found out so I have the best chance at seeing it. This is the first one lasting three and a half hours in 580 years. I’m telling everyone because the odds are we will not see anything like this ever again.
Why This Eclipse Is Longer Than Others
According to NASA, the moon is farther away from our planet this time of year. Therefore, it will take longer to pass through Earth’s shadow.
When to Expect This Celestial Event
The partial total eclipse will take place during the full Beaver moon on the morning of Friday, November 19. As long as the weather stays clear, you’ll be able to see the eclipse from 2:15 to 5:45 am. If you set an alarm early enough, you’ll get a glimpse of the eclipse at its peak around 4 am. More than 97 percent of the moon’s surface will be covered.
Where to Look
This eclipse will be visible across North America. Lunar eclipses are not like solar eclipses in that it is safe to observe with the naked eye. Space.com suggests looking low in the western sky.
“The farther west you are, the better your view will be,” Space.com writes.
What You Will See
NASA explains the phenomenon as an illusion due to our atmosphere.
“Because the Earth has an atmosphere, the full shadow of the Earth is not black,” NASA writes. “If you were on the Moon in this shadow and looking back at the Earth, you would see all of the Earth's sunrises and sunsets falling on you and the surface around you, giving the Moon a reddish-brown color.”
This is why lunar eclipses are sometimes called "blood moons."