Watch the ‘Beaver Moon’ in all its glory as it lights up the night sky like never before!
San Diegans sure love their sunsets, but tonight and tomorrow, sky-gazers will be treated to a once-in-a-lifetime event. More accurately put, a once every 580 years celestial event! The last time a partial lunar eclipse lasted this long was back in the 1440s!
From November 18 & 19, a partial lunar eclipse called the ‘Beaver Moon’ will be visible across all of North America. The Moon will grow increasingly red as the Earth’s shadow covers it. At the eclipse’s peak, the Moon will be 97.4% covered by the Earth’s shadow. The partial lunar eclipse will last for 3 hours, 28 minutes, and 23 seconds, making it the longest partial lunar eclipse in almost six centuries, according to Space.com.
— SPACE.com (@SPACEdotcom) November 15, 2021
Here’s all you need to know before Thursday and Friday’s ‘Beaver Moon’ eclipse:
What is a lunar eclipse?
A lunar eclipse occurs when a full moon moves into the Earth’s shadow. Since the Moon doesn’t create any light and only reflects sunlight, the Earth obstructs the Moon’s light. But instead of going completely dark, the Moon turns a reddish-orange color.
Why does the Moon turn red?
Instead of going completely dark, the Moon turns red because of a little thing called Rayleigh Scattering. Even though sunlight may look white, it’s made up of many different colors- think of prisms or rainbows. Reddish colors have longer wavelengths and lower frequencies compared to others.
As sunlight enters Earth’s atmosphere, the particles of our atmosphere scatter the sunlight. However, not all colors are equally dispersed. Colors with shorter wavelengths (like violet and blues) are scattered more strongly and are removed from the sunlight before it hits the surface of the Moon during a lunar eclipse. Since red and orange have longer wavelengths, they pass through the atmosphere. This red-orange light beams into the heart of Earth’s shadow, which hits the Moon’s surface during a lunar eclipse, according to Nasa.
When is the eclipse, and where can I see it?
This astronomical event will be visible all over North America, large portions of northern South America, northeastern Asia, and Australia’s eastern side.
San Diegans will be able to see the eclipse starting on Thursday, Nov 18, at 10:02 pm. It will reach its maximum intensity here on Friday, Nov 19, at 1:02 am. Finally, the Beaver Moon ends on Friday, Nov 19, at 4:03 am. Due to the refraction of sunlight through the Earth’s atmosphere, the Moon will appear redder than usual, making for a spectacular show! You will also be to see our satellite from Wednesday until Saturday, from moonrise to moonset.
What do I need to see the eclipse?
The Beaver Moon should be visible without any equipment such as telescopes or binoculars. If you can usually see the Moon from where you are, then you’ll be able to see the eclipse. You don’t need to worry about moonlight interfering with your ability to see a lunar eclipse, but if you would like to use a telescope, then go ahead and enjoy the show!
Why is it called the ‘Beaver Moon’
The Beaver Moon has many other names like DiggingMoon, Deer Rutting Moon, The Forest Moon, and The Freezing Moon. However, The Beaver Moon refers to the time of year when beavers start taking shelter in their lodges after having prepared for winter. This name is based on Native American naming traditions, which often reflect the changing landscapes and patterns of nature, according to Farmers’ Almanac.
Featured image: Shutterstock