Partial lunar eclipses are generally not considered to be worthy of interest like total lunar eclipses. However, the one that takes place on the night of November 18 and 19, 2021, is definitively worthy of a mention. This is the last partial lunar eclipse of the year, and the longest in 1,000 years. With 97% of the Moon sliding into Earth’s shadow, the celestial event also promises to be spectacular. The eclipse will be visible to much of the globe. Some of the best views will be Reserve for North American residents.
NASA officials estimate the near-total eclipse will last approximately 3 hours, 28 minutes and 23 seconds. It will begin at around 2:19 a.m. EST on November 19 (11:19 a.m. PST on November 18), reaching its maximum around 4 a.m. EST (1 a.m. PST) and ends at 5:47 a.m. EST (2:47 a.m. PST). At the maximum eclipse – when most of the Moon’s face will be covered by Earth’s shadow – the Satellite will assume the frightening red tint generally observed during total lunar eclipses.
The November eclipse is long duration is the result of a “micromoon”. At the climax of the eclipse, the Moon will be only 41 hours from apogee – its farthest point from Earth. The distance causes our satellite to move more slowly along its orbit and take longer to pass through the Earth’s shadow. In contrast, the May 2021 eclipse, which occurred just 9 hours after perigee – the closest distance from the Moon to Earth – had a super moon.
A partiel The lunar eclipse occurs when our planet is between the Sun and the full Moon. As the three are not perfectly aligned, only part of the visible surface of the Moon is covered by the Earth’s shadow. Unlike solar eclipses, the celestial event can be observed without protective glasses.
While residents of the United States will need to stay awake late or get up early to see the partial eclipse, it may be worth losing sleep. This is because the next partial lunar eclipse of this duration will not take place until February 8, 2669!
Resources: Space.com, LiveScience.com. Earthsky.org, NASA.org