Longest partial lunar eclipse of the century on Friday morning: how to watch

Longest Partial Lunar Eclipse Of The Century On Friday Morning: How To Watch

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (NEXSTAR/WOOD) — An astronomical event is taking place this week and all of North America will have the chance to see it. A partial lunar eclipse, which will occur during the November full moon, will be visible before sunrise Friday. It will also be the longest in centuries.

A partial lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes between the sun and the moon, casting a shadow on the moon. If the entire moon is in the shadow of the Earth, or the darkest part of the shadow, there is a total lunar eclipse. If only part of the moon is in Earth’s shadow, it is a partial lunar eclipse.

Friday’s lunar eclipse will almost be a total lunar eclipse, but not quite. About 97% of the moon will be in Earth’s shadow. This means that most of the moon will take on the dim, reddish appearance of a lunar eclipse, while a small sliver will still look normal.

November’s full moon, often referred to as the Beaver Moon — so named because it appears when beavers begin to take shelter in their lodges for the winter — will be in the Earth’s shadow for several hours, and will be visible to all of North America as the cloud conditions allow.

In total, the partial lunar eclipse is expected to last three hours and 28 minutes, making it the longest not only of the 21st century, but in more than 580 years, NASA records show.

“Partial lunar eclipses may not be as spectacular as total lunar eclipses — in which the moon is completely covered by Earth’s shadow — but they are more common,” NASA said on its website. “And that just means more opportunities to witness small changes in our solar system that sometimes happen right before our eyes.”

The eclipse will be visible in the Americas, the Pacific, Australia and East Asia, weather permitting.

Unlike a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse is safe to see with the naked eye. It also doesn’t require any special equipment to see it, although you can use binoculars or a small telescope to get a closer look.

There are two to five lunar eclipses every year, NASA says.

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