A total lunar eclipse will turn the Moon red for some observers on Tuesday, November 8, the last chance to catch such an eclipse until 2025.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes behind the Earth in relation to the Sun, passing into the shadow of our planet. A lunar eclipse is considered a total eclipse when the Moon passes through the deepest part of Earth’s shadow, the umbra, dimming the Moon’s light and shading it red as the only light reaching the lunar surface is filtered through the earth’s atmosphere.
The November 8 lunar eclipse will appear total to observers in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, North America and parts of South America like Colombia and Venezuela, according to a website from the NASA on the eclipse.
Skywatchers in Hawaii and Alaska will be able to see the entire eclipse, but the Moon will set over Puerto Rico just after the eclipse reaches full. The UK, Europe and most of Africa will not see the lunar eclipse at all.
For most viewers in North America, the eclipse will last just over three and a half hours in total, with the first hints of a partial eclipse beginning around 3:02 a.m. EST. This is when the Moon will move into Earth’s outer, lighter shadow, known as the penumbra, but won’t be truly noticeable until about an hour later at 4:09 a.m. EST.
“To the naked eye, as the Moon moves through the shadows, it looks like a bite is being taken out of the lunar disk,” according to the Nasa website.
Totality – when the entire Moon is inside Earth’s shadow – will begin around 5:17 a.m. EST and end around 6:42 a.m. EST, returning the Moon to a state of partial eclipse, appearing less red, with a “bite” on the opposite side from when the partial eclipse began.
The Moon will have set for those in the eastern time zone before the eclipse ends, but for those in the west coast, the partial eclipse will end when the Moon moves out of Earth’s shadow at around 4:49 a.m. PST.
The most recent total lunar eclipse occurred on May 15, while a partial lunar eclipse, visible in Europe, North Africa and West Asia, occurred on October 25.
The November 8 eclipse will be the last total lunar eclipse until March 14, 2025, according to Nasa, although there will be partial lunar eclipses visible in the intervening three years. And although they are different phenomena, resulting from the passage of the Moon between the Sun and the Earth, two solar eclipses will be visible from North America in 2023 and 2024.