Celestial showtime is almost here!
Later this week, Earth will experience a rare lunar eclipse lasting a duration of over 3 hours and 28 minutes and according to NASA, no partial lunar eclipse has lasted longer since 1440, and none will last this long again until 2669. In other words, this is a pretty big deal.
It happens Friday, November 19, 2021, and anyone living in North America, South America, Australia and East Asia will be able to see the moon turn red.
It won’t be a total lunar eclipse, as only 97% of the moon will enter Earth’s shadow in space, leaving a tiny portion still illuminated by the sun— but this lunar eclipse will be the only lunar eclipse this century in which will you able to watch the build-up to what they call a “Blood Moon”.
Unlike a solar eclipse, you won't need special glasses to admire the show.
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 which will cover the rest of the moon's surface.
Here’s how it works…
A partial lunar eclipse is really three eclipses in one—and it happens in five acts.
The event begins when the full Moon enters the Earth’s outer shadows—its penumbra (a penumbral lunar eclipse).
It then begins to enter Earth’s inner shadow—its umbra—and as it does so it begins to turn red (a partial lunar eclipse).
Once the whole of the Moon is inside the umbra that’s totality—the Moon will have turned 97.4% red.
The entire event then goes into reverse, with the Moon exiting the umbra, then the penumbra.
Here’s the global schedule according to eclipse expert Fred Espenak: