Lunar Eclipse: November’s Full Beaver Moon will also be a total lunar eclipse
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Set to turn a coppery shade of red in the sky this Tuesday, November 8, the full moon will kick off Election Day with its own early morning event – a total lunar eclipse.
The second eclipse of the year, the eclipse will begin at 3:02 a.m. ET, with the moon initially darkening for the first hour, ending at 8:50 a.m. ET.
In totality, the phase in which the entire moon will be in the Earth’s shadow, the moon will take on a deep reddish hue, which is why a total eclipse is also called a blood moon. Sky watchers will be able to see the striking effect starting at 5:17 a.m. ET, according to NASA.
“They’re not that common, so it’s always nice to catch them when you can,” said Dr. Alphonse Sterling, astrophysicist in NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “I think they’re great learning devices for people who want to do astronomy.”
A total lunar eclipse occurs about once every 1 ½ years on average, with the next total lunar eclipse not until March 14, 2025 — although partial and penumbral eclipses will occur in the meantime. A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the moon moves through the outer shadow, or penumbra, of the Earth, so the visual effect is more subtle.
Those watching the total lunar eclipse will be able to see the curvature of the Earth’s shadow as it begins to slowly engulf the Moon completely. At least part of the phenomenon will be visible across East Asia, Australia, the Pacific, North America and Central America, according to NASA.
Each first full moon in November is called the Beaver Moon in honor of the semi-aquatic rodent. This is the time of year when beavers begin to retreat after storing food for the winter The Old Farmer’s Almanac. The moon will be at its brightest at 6:02 a.m. ET, according to the almanac.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth and Moon align so that the Moon passes into the Earth’s shadow. Because of this arrangement, unlike a solar eclipse, you can enjoy a lunar eclipse from anywhere the moon is present during the night. Nearby stars are usually obscured by the moon’s glow, but the moon will be dim enough for the duration of the eclipse to reveal itself, according to Sterling.
“With a solar eclipse, you have to be in the right place, but for lunar eclipses, it’s not nearly as sensitive to location,” Sterling said.
“The entire half of the Earth that is at night during the period when the moon falls into the shadow can see it. So basically, half the world is available.”
The same phenomenon that colors the sky blue and sunsets red is what causes the moon to turn rusty red during a lunar eclipse, according to NASA. During a lunar eclipse, Earth’s atmosphere scatters sunlight, letting in red, orange, and yellow light and scattering the blue light normally seen on the Moon.
In the eastern United States and Canada, the moon will set before the eclipse ends, so it’s best to look toward the western horizon to see its totality. Viewing a solar eclipse requires eye protection, but you can safely enjoy a lunar eclipse without any equipment – although your view can be improved with binoculars.
“This is a really good thing about lunar eclipses, especially. You really don’t need anything but your eyes. The moon is a bright object, so you don’t need a particularly dark place to see the event,” Sterling said. “And the shadows, the beautiful red color you see during an eclipse, you can see anywhere, even in the middle of the city.”
After the beaver blood moon, there is another full moon event this year The Old Farmer’s Almanac. The cold month takes place on December 7.
As for the meteor shower, you can see the South Taurides in the night sky right now. Catch a peak of these upcoming meteor showers later this year, according to EarthSky 2022 Meteor Shower Guide:
• Northern Taurids: November 12
• Leonids: 17.-18. November
• Geminids: 13.-14. December
• Ursi: 22-23. December
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