“Beaver Blood Moon” – Last chance to see a total lunar eclipse until 2025!

“Beaver Blood Moon” – Last chance to see a total lunar eclipse until 2025!

Flower Moon Lunar Eclipse over NASA Michoud Assembly Facility

The Flower Moon’s lunar eclipse over NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans is shown from the first partial eclipse to totality in a composite of seven images taken on Sunday, May 15, 2022. Credit: NASA/Michael DeMocker

On November 8, stargazers will have the chance to see a total lunar eclipse for the second time in 2022. At least some of the phenomenon will be visible in East Asia, Australia, the Pacific and North America. The most recent total lunar eclipse took place in May.

Total lunar eclipses occur on average about once every 1.5 years, according to Alphonse Sterling, an astrophysicist from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. While the moon offers generous opportunities to view solar eclipses this year, viewers should take advantage of November’s eclipse, as the next total lunar eclipse will not occur until 2025.

Shadow chart total lunar eclipse November 2022

The Moon moves from right to left, passing through the penumbra and the umbra, leaving in its wake an eclipse diagram showing the times at different stages of the eclipse. Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth casts a complete shadow — called an umbra — over the moon. The Earth’s shadow is divided into two parts: the umbra, the inner part of the shadow where direct light from the sun is completely blocked, and the penumbra, the outer part of the shadow where the light is partially blocked.

When the Moon is within the umbra, it will take on a reddish hue. Lunar eclipses are sometimes called “Blood Moons” because of this phenomenon. The full moon in November is known as the Beaver Moon (also called the Frost or Frosty Moon or the Snow Moon), making this a ‘Beaver Blood Moon’.

During a total lunar eclipse, the moon and sun are on opposite sides of the Earth. Many people wonder why lunar eclipses don’t happen every month, since the moon completes one orbit around the Earth every 27 days. The reason is that the moon’s orbit around the Earth is tilted relative to the Earth’s orbit around the sun, so the moon often moves above or below the Earth’s shadow. Lunar eclipses are only possible when the orbits are aligned in such a way that the moon is directly behind the Earth in relation to the sun.

Beaver Moon Lunar Eclipse

A near total solar eclipse of November’s complete “Beaver Moon” captured over the city of New Orleans before sunrise on Nov. 19, 2021. The 97% eclipse clocked in at 3 hours, 28 minutes, and 24 seconds, making it the longest partial lunar eclipse on record. 580 years. Credit: NASA/Mihoud Assembly Facility

For North America, the promotion kicks off on November 8 in the early hours of the morning. The partial eclipse begins at 3:09 a.m. CST, with totality beginning at 4:16 a.m. and ending at 5:42 a.m. phase resumes and lasts until 6:49 AM. Those in the eastern part of the United States will miss most or all of the last partial phase because the moon sets during totality or shortly after totality ends.

Another characteristic of a total lunar eclipse is the red hue of the Moon during totality. The red color occurs due to the refraction, filtering and scattering of light by the Earth’s atmosphere. The scattering is a phenomenon called Rayleigh scattering – named after 19th-century British physicist Lord Rayleigh.

Total lunar eclipse visibility map November 2022

A map showing where the lunar eclipse of November 8, 2022 is visible. Contours mark the edge of the field of view at eclipse contact times. The chart is centered at 168°57’W, the lower moon during the mid-eclipse. Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio

Rayleigh scattering is also the reason for red sunrises and sunsets. Light from the sun collides with the gases of the Earth’s atmosphere and because of the shorter wavelength, blue light is filtered out, but red light is not easily scattered because of the longer wavelength. Some of that red light is refracted or bent as it passes through Earth’s atmosphere and eventually shines a ghostly red light on the moon. The degree of redness of a fully eclipsed Moon can be affected by atmospheric conditions resulting from volcanic eruptions, fires and dust storms.

But what does Earth look like from the moon’s perspective during a lunar eclipse? According to Marshall astrophysicist Mitzi Adams, astronauts on the moon would see a red ring around a silhouetted Earth during a total lunar eclipse. As[{” attribute=””>NASA works to establish a permanent human presence on the Moon through the Artemis program, it’s fascinating to consider how Earthlings will experience astronomical events away from their home planet.

No special eye protection is needed for viewing a lunar eclipse, unlike solar eclipses (which occur during the daytime). While the lunar eclipse can be observed with the unaided eye, a pair of binoculars or a telescope can enhance the view.

Sterling says a fun activity for those who stargaze with family or friends is to discuss who notices the reddish hue of totality first and how it progresses throughout the eclipse.

Gain more understanding of lunar eclipses, learn about NASA’s observations of eclipses, and inspire young stargazers with activities and information.

Finally, if you want to know what else is happening as you watch the skies in November, check out Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s latest “What’s Up” video:

A total lunar eclipse brings some magic to the morning sky on November 8, and the Leonid meteors peak after midnight on November 18, with some glare from a 35% full moon. Plus, enjoy scenic views on other days in November when the moon visits planets[{” attribute=””>Mars and Saturn, and bright star Spica. Credit: NASA/JPL

Happy skywatching!

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