Lunar eclipse: November’s full beaver moon will also be a total lunar eclipse
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On Tuesday, November 8, the full moon will turn a coppery shade of red in the sky and Election Day will kick off with an early morning event of its own – a total lunar eclipse.
The second of the year, the solar eclipse begins at 3:02 a.m. ET, with the moon initially dimming for the first hour and ending at 8:50 a.m. ET.
At totality, the stage where the entire moon is in the shadow of the Earth, the moon will take on a dark reddish hue, which is why a total solar eclipse is also called a blood moon. Sky viewers can see the striking effect as of 5:17 a.m. ET, according to NASA.
“They’re not that common, so it’s always nice to get your hands on them if you can,” says Dr. Alphonse Sterling, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “I think they’re excellent learning tools for people who want to get into astronomy.”
A total lunar eclipse occurs on average about once every 1 year, with the next total lunar eclipse not until March 14, 2025 — although partial and penumbral eclipses will continue to occur in the meantime. A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the moon moves through Earth’s outer shadow, or penumbra, so the visual effect is more subtle.
Those who watch the total lunar eclipse will be able to see the curvature of Earth’s shadow as it slowly begins to swallow the moon completely. At least some of the phenomenon will be visible throughout East Asia, Australia, the Pacific, North America and Central America, according to NASA.
Every first full moon of November is named the beaver moon in honor of the semi-aquatic rodents. This is the time of year when beavers take shelter after saving their food for the winter, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. The moon will be at its brightest at 6:02 am ET, the almanac notes.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, the earth and the moon align so that the moon comes in the shadow of the earth. Because of this arrangement, unlike a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse can be enjoyed from anywhere the moon is present at night. Nearby stars are usually obscured by the moon’s glow, but the moon will be dim enough during the eclipse to reveal them, Sterling said.
“In solar eclipses you have to be in the right place, but for lunar eclipses it’s not nearly as location sensitive,” Sterling said.
“All half of the Earth that is nighttime during the period when the moon is in shadow can see it. So basically it’s available to half the world.”
The same phenomenon that turns the sky blue and sunsets red, according to NASA, causing the moon to turn rusty red during a lunar eclipse. During a lunar eclipse, Earth’s atmosphere scatters sunlight, allowing red, orange, and yellow light to pass through and scattering the blue light typically seen near the moon.
In the eastern United States and Canada, the moon sets before the eclipse is over, so it’s best to look to the western horizon to see the whole thing. Viewing an eclipse requires eye protection, but you can safely enjoy a lunar eclipse without any equipment, although your vision can be improved with binoculars.
“This is great fun about lunar eclipses, in particular. You really don’t need anything except your eyes. The moon is a bright object, so you don’t need a particularly dark place to see the event,” Sterling said. shadows, the beautiful red color that you see during the eclipse, can be seen everywhere, even in the middle of a city.”
After the beaver’s blood moon, this year will have another full moon event, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. The cold moon occurs on December 7.
As for meteor showers, right now you can see the South Taurians in the night sky. Catch the peak of this upcoming meteor shower later this year, according to EarthSky’s 2022 Meteor Shower Guide:
• North Taurians: November 12
• Leonids: November 17-18
• Geminids: December 13-14
• Ursiden: December 22-23
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