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Breakdown: Why this upcoming partial lunar eclipse is rare

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 2:12 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -This years lunar eclipse could be great to view for several reasons. This is the last lunar eclipse of 2021 and it is going to be the longest partial lunar eclipse since 2001 all the way through 2100. It will take place November 18 night or early morning on November 19th. The eclipse will start around 1 am and will reach the peak of the eclipse around 3 am. The moon will be in Earth’s shadow for a whopping 3 hours and 28 minutes according to NASA. The partial lunar eclipse will accompany this month’s full moon, which is know as the frost moon.

Lunar eclipses occur when Earth’s shadow blocks the sun’s light, which otherwise reflects off the moon. The three celestial bodies, Moon, Earth and Sun will not be directly aligned so part of Earths shadow will cover the moon. There are three types of eclipses total, partial and penumbral. Most are familar with the total lunar eclipse, where Earth’s shadow completely covers the moon.

A partial lunar eclipse is when only a portion of the moon is completely covered in the prenumbra of earth’s shadow or only its umbra. The prenumbra is the lighter part of the shadow, the edge while the umbra is the darkest part of Earth’s shadow. According to astronomers many won’t be able to tell that this isn’t a total lunar eclipse because up to 97% of the moon will be covered by the Earths shadow at the height of the eclipse. The moon will take on a reddish glow.

The Pleiades star cluster and the brightest star in the sky, Sirius will also be visible in the Northern Hemisphere.

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