The Longest Lunar Eclipse This Century Comes in 2 Weeks. Here’s How to See It.

The Earth will pass between the Sun and the Moon in the early hours of November 19, casting a shadow on the latter. The eclipse will peak shortly after 4 a.m. ET, when our planet will block out 97 percent of the sun’s light, giving the moon a reddish hue.

According to NASA, the partial lunar eclipse will last 3 hours, 28 minutes, and 23 seconds — longer than any other eclipse between 2001 and 2100.

Here’s when and how to see the rare celestial event.

People in North America can watch the entire spectacle

Lunar eclipses are only visible in places where the moon is above the horizon.

Skywatchers in North America have the best seats in the house for the upcoming eclipse. The entire event can be viewed by people in all 50 US states, Canada, and Mexico.

You won’t need a telescope or binoculars; just go outside and look up at any time between 2:19 and 5:47 a.m. ET.

If you don’t want to brave the chilly morning air, you can watch the event live online here.

The most of of the eclipse will be visible in South America and Western Europe, though the moon will set before it ends. People in Western Asia and Oceania will miss the first part of the event because the moon has not yet risen. Those in Africa and the Middle East will miss out on the spectacle.

Lunar Eclipse
A map of locations where the partial lunar eclipse will be visible on November 19. 
Credit: NASA

Don’t worry if you miss the eclipse. After this, NASA predicts 179 eclipses over the next eight decades, with an average of two per year. The next lunar eclipse will occur on May 16, 2022.

How a lunar eclipse works — and why it turns the moon red

Typically, the moon’s white-grey face is illuminated by sunlight reflecting off its surface. During a lunar eclipse, however, the Moon, Sun, and Earth briefly align so that our planet preventing sunlight from reaching the moon.

Lunar Eclipse
A diagram of the Earth, Moon, and Sun during a total lunar eclipse.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when 100 percent of the moon is obscured by the Earth’s cone-shaped shadow, known as the umbra. During a total or near-total eclipse, such as this month’s, the lunar surface takes on a bloody appearance.

That light show is thanks to oxygen and nitrogen particles in the Earth’s atmosphere. Because they are both better at scattering shorter wavelengths of light, such as blue or violet, colors with longer wavelengths, such as red, orange, or yellow, linger. As a result, when the Moon is in Earth’s shadow, those reddish colors dominate what you see.

READ MORE: Why Isn’t Our Moon a Planet?


6 Responses

  • Ooopppsss they are doing it again!
    Trying to have an explaination this time as to why the reddish hue aka Blood Moon!
    48 yea4s old here and the lunar eclipse turning to a ‘phenomenal’ blood moon only started from happening a few years back! So you see not everybody is #GalileoGullibles and born yesterday!

    Did it become normal for every lunar eclipse just lile I said so? SMH hahahaha!

    • Lunar eclipse and timing have been known for centuries and the people who knew how to predict the schedule frequently used that knowledge to control societies less informed. It is not a new event.

  • In 2014, religious fanatic John Hagee published a book, titled “Four Blood Moons.” He claimed a series of eclipses were a sign of the apocalypse. The last of these 4 lunar eclipses was in 2015. The book became a best seller and the catch phrase “blood moon” was widely used.

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