It is the first of two total lunar eclipses that can be seen from the United States this year. Scheduled to take place on the night of November 7, the next show will miss parts of northwestern North America from the Sunday night show.
What is a total lunar eclipse?
Eclipses of all shapes occur when another object obscures. In the event of a total lunar eclipse, the Earth is mediated between the Sun and the Moon. You might expect it to block sunlight from reaching the moon, and make it disappear, but that doesn’t happen. Instead, some of the sunlight around the Earth’s circumference creeps through our atmosphere and spreads toward the moon.
For this to happen, the Sun, Earth, and Moon must be in one line. This only happens during the full moon.
total solar eclipse, on the other hand, occurs during new moons, when the moon slips between the earth and the sun. This extinguishes sunlight from reaching a narrow passage of land, turning day into night. A solar eclipse also allows the sun’s white corona, or atmosphere, to be visible, which is usually eclipsed by scorching sunlight.
Solar and lunar eclipses come in pairs approximately two weeks apart; The last partial solar eclipse, on April 30, was visible from South America.
A total lunar eclipse will begin as an unremarkable lunar eclipse—a subtle darkening that is difficult to perceive to an untrained observer. This is the time when the widest and most diffuse portion of the Earth’s shadow begins to sweep across the lunar surface from the lower left to the upper right.
The partial phase of the eclipse will occur, when the edge of darkness, or the darkest part of the Earth’s shadow, first makes contact with the Moon. You will see a veil of darkness traversing the moon, the edge of which is a gentle curve representing the shape of the Earth. The shadow curve will be gentler than the moon’s curve, because the Earth is larger.
Once the shadow swallows it whole, the color of the moon will turn red. That’s because the only light that reaches the moon is what flows through the Earth’s atmosphere. The shorter wavelengths/higher frequencies of light scatter away, leaving only the longer wavelengths, which are red in color, capable of penetrating the atmosphere at a low angle of incidence. It is the same premise that makes sunrise and sunset red. Therefore, you see the light of sunrise and sunset constantly synchronized on the moon.
A maximum eclipse occurs when the moon is strongly etched into the Earth’s shadow, immersed in nothing but a frightening red light. The color of a lunar eclipse actually varies depending on how polluted the atmosphere is; Astronomers have evaluated color gradients on dungeon scale, where zero represents a barely visible eclipse and the number four represents a copper eclipse. It is known that volcanic eruptions and the presence of aerosols reduce the vitality of lunar eclipses.
All times listed are Eastern Time:
Penumbral Eclipse begins: 9:32:05 PM ET
Start the partial eclipse: 10:27:52 PM ET
Start college: 11:29:03 PM ET
Max Eclipse: 12:11:28 AM ET
College end: 12:53:55 AM ET
Ending partial eclipse: 1:55:07 AM ET
Penumbral Eclipse End: 2:50:49 AM ET
Noticeable: For some on the West Coast, the moon won’t rise until its fullness has already begun. Moonrise in San Francisco, for example, is set at 8:06 p.m. PST, just 23 minutes before college starts.
How special is the total lunar eclipse?
A lunar eclipse is not nearly as special as a total solar eclipse. A lunar eclipse can be seen from the entire night side of the Earth, as the moon can be seen from anywhere. Most places experience one or two total lunar eclipses annually.
On the other hand, a total solar eclipse can only be seen from a particular location once every 375 years on average. The college trail may be a sliver barely a mile wide, and the experience is surreal. The next day to be seen in the United States will be Monday, April 8, 2024.
Patches of clouds will spread sporadically across the East Coast, the International West, the Sierra Nevada, and the Pacific Northwest. The center of the country will see vast expanses of clear sky favorable for viewing.
A more accurate prediction will be made in the coming days.