United States – Early Friday morning, Nov. 19, early risers are getting to see a partial lunar eclipse. A partial eclipse is when the moon enters what’s called the penumbra.
A total eclipse occurs when the moon enters the umbra. This is the innermost and darkest part of the Earth’s shadow, where light from the sun is completely blocked. This will not be a total lunar eclipse, but it will be close. 97% of the moon will enter the umbra. It will be visible in all of North America.
This lunar eclipse will last 6 hours and 1 minute, the longest the moon has been in the Earth’s shadow since February 18, 1440. The reason this is so long lasting is the moon is near apogee. That is the farthest distance the moon is from the Earth. This distance creates a slower orbit around the earth so it will take longer for the moon to go through the Earth’s shadow.
The 3% of the moon that doesn’t enter the full Earth’s shadow will prevent the moon from turning a deep red color as we’ve seen in recent years with total lunar eclipses. The reason the moon changes to a reddish color is because of the Earth’s atmosphere. What we normally see is the white/gray face of moon illuminated by sunlight. But during an eclipse, as the moon enters the Earth’s shadow the only colors refracting on to the surface of the moon are red and orange. If you are on the surface of the moon during an eclipse looking at the Earth, you are seeing every sunrise and sunset at the same time.
You don’t need a telescope or binoculars. Simply look west between 1:18 and 4:47 a.m. But the best time to view the moon is 3:03. This is when the moon will take on a tangerine color. And there is a chance you may see a passing meteor from the Leonid Meteor Shower that peaks November 17th and 18th. Exact times are listed below.
The forecast is for clear skies Friday morning. If you get any excellent pictures, please share them with me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, tagging @kprc2anthony.
This is a picture I took of the January 31, 2018, Lunar Eclipse. It’s a good example how to our naked eye the red color of the moon is breathtaking. But our mobile phones do not capture this event well. While not needed, binoculars and telescopes enhance the view of the moon.
My all time favorite Lunar Eclipse photo was taken by professional photographer Mike Mezeul. There isn’t a much more Texas moon picture than this.
This full moon this month is called the Beaver Moon. Our last total lunar eclipse was the Flower Moon in May. Here is a fun video we put together at NBC.
And if you miss this one, the next total lunar eclipse is May 16, 2022 and it will be much earlier, occurring at 10:29 p.m.