Partial lunar eclipse happens early Friday morning

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 12:33 PM CST
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If you can stay awake, take some time to look up early Friday morning. The sun, the earth, and the moon will be nearly aligned. The moon is going to move into the earth’s shadow which includes an outer shadow (penumbra) and the inner/darkest part of the shadow (umbra). However, only 97 % of the moon will officially make it into the umbra... making this eclipse a partial lunar eclipse.

So, the overall eclipse event starts at about 12:02 AM CST. That’s when the moon is going to move into that outer shadow. The partial lunar eclipse begins at 1:18 AM CST, and that’s when the moon is going to move into the umbra. From that point, the maximum eclipse time will be at 3:02:55 AM (i.e. 3:03 AM). This is when most of the moon will be in the umbra, and its color will change to a reddish color. Then, at 4:47 AM CST, the partial lunar eclipse will end as the moon moves out of the umbra. However, it won’t move out of the outer shadow (penumbra) until around 6:03 AM CST.

This will be the longest lunar eclipse since 1440, and it will last a little more than six hours. Why? That’s because it’s going to happen near its apogee, and that’s when the moon is at its farthest point away from the earth during its monthly orbit. So, the farther away it is, the slower it’s going to move through the earth’s shadow.

Just so you know, it’s safe to look directly at a lunar eclipse. It won’t hurt your eyes like a solar eclipse would. For a solar eclipse, you need to have special glasses. Speaking of a solar eclipse, it will happen in about two weeks. We just won’t see it. Only parts of the southern hemisphere will get to see that celestial event.

According to NASA, at least two partial lunar eclipses happen each year. However, total lunar eclipses are rare.

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