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A lunar eclipse of the blood moon will occur on Election Day

A lunar eclipse of the blood moon will occur on Election Day

The story at a glance


  • A lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth, and Moon align, causing the Moon to be shrouded in the darkest part of Earth’s shadow, known as the umbra.

  • These lunar eclipses are sometimes called “blood moons” because of the reddish hue cast on the moon by refracted sunlight passing through Earth’s atmosphere.

  • If not obstructed by clouds, the total lunar eclipse will be visible in the Pacific Northwest and across North and Central America.

PORTLAND, Ore. (coin) — An ominous blood moon lunar eclipse will hang in the sky as ballots are counted for the November 8 general election.

The Election Day eclipse, according to NASA, is the last total lunar eclipse Earth will see for the next three years. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth, and Moon align, causing the Moon to be shrouded in the darkest part of Earth’s shadow, known as the umbra.

NASA: “During a lunar eclipse, Earth’s atmosphere scatters sunlight. Blue sunlight is scattered, and red, orange and yellow light of longer wavelengths pass through, making our moon red.” | Graphics by NASA

These lunar eclipses are sometimes called “blood moons” because of the reddish hue cast on the moon by refracted sunlight passing through Earth’s atmosphere. This phenomenonknown as Rayleigh scatteringit also gives Earth blue skies and rose-colored sunsets.

“The more dust or clouds in Earth’s atmosphere during an eclipse, the redder the Moon will appear,” says NASA. “It’s as if all the world’s sunrises and sunsets were projected onto the moon.”

If not obstructed by clouds, the total lunar eclipse will be visible in the Pacific Northwest and across North and Central America. In Oregon, the eclipse will begin two minutes after midnight on November 8.

The moon will reach full eclipse, or “totality,” at 5:17 a.m. ET and will end after the moon sets.

“You don’t need any special equipment to view the lunar eclipse, although binoculars or a telescope will enhance the view and the red color,” says NASA. “A dark environment away from strong light creates the best viewing conditions.”

Eclipse visibility map. | NASA

Ironically, the election day eclipse is also “Beaver Moon” — the second full moon of autumn. The term, according to NASA, was popularized by Farmer’s Almanac of Maine, which published Native American names for the full moon in the 1930s.

“According to this almanac, Native American tribes of what is now the northern and eastern United States called this the Beaver Moon,” explains NASA. “One interpretation is that mid-autumn was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name ‘beaver month’ comes from how active beavers are during this season as they prepare for winter.”

After November 9, the next total lunar eclipse will occur on March 14, 2025.



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