FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lewiston, Maine: On November 18-19, 2021, North Americans will be treated to a partial lunar eclipse with a very unique shading effect when November’s Beaver Moon will be partially eclipsed by the Earth. This exciting Moon show will take place in the predawn hours, with the visible stages ending before moonset.
What Is A Lunar Eclipse?
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes between the Sun and Moon and lines up precisely so that it blocks the Sun’s light, which otherwise reflects off the Moon.
There are three types of lunar eclipses: total, partial, and penumbral. The most dramatic is a total lunar eclipse when the Earth’s shadow totally covers the Moon. A lunar eclipse can occur only when there is a full Moon.
For this eclipse, the Moon will slide through the southern portion of the Earth’s dark umbra, and at mid-eclipse, all but 2.6 percent of the Moon’s diameter will be immersed in the shadow. Because some of the sunlight striking the Earth is diffused and scattered by our atmosphere, the Earth’s shadow is not completely dark. Enough of this light reaches the Moon to give it a faint coppery glow. Combined with the remaining uneclipsed yellow sliver will create what some call the “Japanese Lantern Effect”—a strikingly beautiful sight for the naked eye, and especially for those viewing with binoculars or a small telescope.
Partial Lunar Eclipse Timetable
Below is a timetable covering the various phases. Times given in italics indicate times for late Thursday evening, November 18th.
About 20 minutes before the Moon enters the umbra, a faint, but distinct “smudge” should be visible on the left side of the Moon’s disk. Then, after the Moon leaves the umbra, a similar smudginess or shading should be evident for about 20 minutes on the right side of the Moon’s disk.
How Long Will This Eclipse Last?
Normally, for a total eclipse, it takes only about an hour for the Moon to move completely into the Earth’s shadow. However, for this eclipse, it will take noticeably longer: about 104 minutes from the time the first “bite” by the dark umbral shadow appears on the Moon’s face until virtually the entire disk of the Moon is covered and then another 105 minutes for the last bit of the umbra to exit off of the Moon. Why? The reason is the Moon will arrive at apogee—that point in its orbit farthest from Earth—on November 20th (when it will be about 252,600 miles away). So, it will be moving slower than normal in its orbit and will take a much longer time to traverse through the Earth’s central shadow.
Two weeks later, on Saturday, December 4th, a total eclipse of the Sun will take place. But you’ll have to travel to Antarctica to view it!
Farmers’ Almanac of Lewiston, Maine
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