Nature

Beaver Moon: Longest lunar eclipse of the century set for Friday

It will last three hours, 28 minutes and 24 seconds

November’s full moon, called the Beaver Moon, is making an appearance this week and will be accompanied by a near-total lunar eclipse early Friday morning, the longest in 580 years.

The Beaver Moon will appear full for about three days, from Wednesday night through Saturday morning, according to NASA’s “Full Moon Guide.”

Lunar eclipses occur when the moon passes into the Earth’s shadow. In this case, the moon will be so close to opposite the sun on Friday that it will pass through the southern part of the shadow of the Earth for a nearly total lunar eclipse, according to NASA.

The partial eclipse phase will last 3 hours, 28 minutes and 24 seconds, and the full eclipse for 6 hours and 1 minute, making it the longest partial eclipse of the century, according to a tweet by Indiana’s Holcomb Observatory.

LONGEST PARTIAL ECLIPSE of the CENTURY to occur in the Pre-dawn hours of November 19th. Maximum eclipse is at 4:03 AM EST when 97% of the Moon will be eclipsed. At that time it will be high in our western sky. This will also be the longest partial lunar eclipse in 580 years! pic.twitter.com/Xa9ciXLp3V— Holcomb Observatory (@holcombobserv) November 7, 2021

To see the eclipse, you will need to get up early and look low in the west at 3:58 a.m. EST Friday, according to NASA. To those watching with the naked eye, binoculars and small telescopes, the lower edge of the moon will likely remain much brighter than the deep red or ochre hue they can expect across the rest of the moon’s face, according to reporting by space.com.

“This should be a good month for skywatching, with Venus, Jupiter and Saturn in the evening sky, a potentially visible comet and one of the best meteor showers of the year,” wrote Gordon Johnston for NASA.

On Friday evening, Midlanders can visit the Chippewa Nature Center to enjoy the Beaver Moon.

A Full Moon Stroll is set to start at 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at the center. And it’s free.

“Join an interpretive naturalist for a hike to enjoy this month’s full moon,” reads a Facebook page for the event. “Learn how the tradition of naming moons began and what makes each month special.”

Participants are asked to wear dark colors and bring a flashlight. You can RSVP to the stroll on the Chippewa Nature Center Facebook page here.

How did the Beaver Moon get its name?

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the monthly full moons have names tied to early Native American, Colonial American and European folklore.

Why the Beaver Moon?

This is the time of year when beavers begin to take shelter in their lodges, having laid up sufficient stores of food for the long winter ahead. During the time of the fur trade in North America, it was also the season to trap beavers for their thick, winter-ready pelts, per The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Written by Angela Mulka

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