Wednesday November 17 2021
Our next sky show will Friday morning, but you may have to set your alarm to view it. The Full Beaver Moon will be passing through Earth’s shadow for nearly a total lunar eclipse. I prefer to refer to it as ‘nearly total’, but ‘partial’ also applies.
According to NASA, up to 99.1% of the Moon’s disk will be in the umbra. I’ll explain what that is below, as well as the weather outlook.
Longest Lunar Eclipse Since the Year 1441
- 580 years has passed since a partial lunar eclipse lasted this long.
- 6 hours in duration will be the longest of this century.
- 3 hours and 28 minutes in the darkest part (umbra). Between 2:18 AM and 5:47 AM
- 4:03 AM is the time of mid eclipse <— Time to make sure you are awake to view.
- 99.1% coverage . Various amounts have been displayed online, but this is the number according to NASA.
It is completely safe to view this AND you can see it without any need for special equipment.
If you have binoculars or a telescope, you will get an even better view.
UPDATE FRIDAY MORNING
This will be an early morning event. Peak time will be at 4:03 AM EST, which is when it will look most impressive.
However if you want to view the transitions, be awake and out to watch between 2:18 AM and 5:47 AM.
We have a strong cold front moving through Thursday night. The timing appears to be speeding up, and this may work through the region with a sharp clearing line arriving in time. I have a look at the weather below.
There are any cultural and even astrological significance paid to this event. I will not cover them in this article, but have heard many stories of the ‘portal opening’.
I like to look at any big celestial event with awe, and a reminder to focus on where we are and where we would like to be. Be positive and that is what you will attract. If this can enhance that notion, let’s bring it on!
What Is A Lunar Eclipse?
- Also why is this almost total?
The orbit of the moon is around Earth. Each night we see it in a different position, and the amount facing the sun AND Earth is what we see lit up.
The moon is Full when it is facing on the opposite the sun, with Earth in the middle.
Most of the time the orbit is above or below the plane or straight line.
When we get an eclipse, it is on the same plane or line of sight with Earth, so it passes through the shadow.
Some light travels around the edges, that is where the penumbra is.
The full shadow is called the umbra. This eclipse will have 99.1% of the moon in the umbra. So a small sliver of white light will be visible at the bottom.
What it might look like…
It might look similar to this view we saw in 2019. Connie Stevens Duke captured this view in Mt. Airy, MD. Notice that white patch at the top? This time it will be at the bottom.
Why is it red?
White light is a combination of the full colors of the spectrum. The red wavelengths are most direct and can travel through our atmosphere better than blue that gets scattered. That is why the sky is blue during the day, but an be red or orange in the morning and evening.
Light traveling through our atmosphere can bend or refract to the dark side. That is what will reach the moon. So while in a shadow, there will be some rays of the sun that reach around Earth and this is the color it will be. Thus, that is the color that will be reflected back to us.
Where To Look
If the sky is clear, it will be high up in there western portion of the sky. Fact in the general direction where sunset is if you head out near the peak time between 3:30 AM and 4:30 AM.
All of North America and most of South America will see this. Also include are eastern Australia and Northeast Asia
What will the weather be?
The strong cold front that is expected to establish a winter like pattern through the Thanksgiving Week will be bringing rain Thursday night. Computer guidance has continued to speed up the timing. That means the rain arrives Thursday evening, but will depart sooner as well, perhaps by midnight in most of our region.
Radar Animation: Thursday 5 PM to 5 AM Friday
Could Forecast —> slider
Besides the rain, there may be an abrupt line of clearing in the clouds. Here is the best suggestion of timing that, along with some key locations I’ve plotted on the maps for reference.
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