With an estimated duration of almost 3 hours and 30 minutes, this will be the longest lunar eclipse between 2001 and 2100. Although it will not be a full eclipse, about 97% of the surface of our satellite will enter Earth's shadow.
On November 19, people around the globe will witness a rare astronomical spectacle – the longest lunar eclipse of the century. NASA has estimated the duration of the event at 3 hours, 28 minutes, and 23 seconds and this will be the longest eclipse until the end of this century.
What can we expect from the longest lunar eclipse of this century?
What is a lunar eclipse and what will we see in November?
On November 19, 2021, the inhabitants of the planet will be able to observe two astronomical phenomena – a partial lunar eclipse and a full moon. The Sun, Earth, and Moon will line up. Our planet will obscure the star and cast a shadow on the satellite. The peculiarity of the 2021 eclipse is that it will not be complete, that is, the Moon will enter Earth’s shadow only partially.
Well, partially is not the most suitable word for this particular eclipse because scientists have estimated that about 97% of the surface of our satellite will be overshadowed by Earth. It is safe to say that this last lunar eclipse of 2021 comes pretty close but we will have to wait until 2022 for the “complete” spectacle.
During an eclipse, the Moon does not disappear completely but becomes crimson-red. This is because the sun’s rays pass tangentially along with it and are scattered in the atmosphere. However, it should be noted that a partial lunar eclipse should not be referred to as Blood Moon as this term is used only during total lunar eclipses.
In astronomy, the phenomenon is called a Micromoon, because the satellite will move as far as possible from our planet. It will be possible to see it on several continents at once: in South and North America, the Pacific Ocean, Indonesia, Australia, Asia, and some parts of Russia.
The most important fact about this astronomical event is that it will not re-occur with this duration in the coming century. This partial lunar eclipse will last almost 3 hours and 30 minutes making it the longest between 2001 and 2100.
Eclipses: Ancient beliefs and interpretations
Since ancient times, people have feared eclipses. It was believed that the black sun and the bloody moon predicted natural disasters, catastrophes, hunger, and deprivation. The November full moon has a curious name – it is often called Beaver Moon. This is due to the change of seasons in the northern hemisphere – it becomes colder and the ancient Indians of North America noticed that beavers were actively preparing for the winter months.
It is also called the “Mourning Moon” according to pagan traditions – the final stage of preparation for winter and the transition to frost. This full moon is considered the perfect time to let go of old and unnecessary things, and take time for introspection and relaxation.
According to astrologers, during such periods, people supposedly become emotionally unstable, the mental illness worsens, and the number of accidents and crimes increases. Of course, all we listed above are various kinds of beliefs and interpretations and scientific evidence does not support such theories. Yet, whether you believe in science or not, it doesn’t hurt to know what traditions tell about lunar eclipses.
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• Caitlin, C. (2021, November 5). How to watch the upcoming lunar eclipse – the longest partial eclipse of the century. CBS News.
• Jackson, F. (n.d.). November’s near-total lunar eclipse. Skyscrapers, Inc.
• Rabie, P. (2021, November 2). Beaver Moon: You need to watch the longest lunar eclipse of the century. Inverse.
• Woodward, A. (2021, November 5). The longest lunar eclipse this century will happen in 2 weeks. here’s how to see it. Business Insider.