Skywatchers are in for a treat on November 19, as the century’s longest partial lunar eclipse will take place. It is also the longest such eclipse in nearly 600 years.
When the moon passes into the Earth‘s shadow, a lunar eclipse occurs. According to Indiana’s Holcomb Observatory, located on the campus of Butler University in the United States, the partial eclipse will last 3 hours, 28 minutes, and 24 seconds, and the full eclipse will last 6 hours and 1 minute, making it the longest partial eclipse in 580 years.
“Longest partial eclipse of the century to occur in the pre-dawn hours of November 19th. This will also be the longest partial lunar eclipse in 580 years!” the observatory tweeted.
Skywatchers will be able to see a slowly changing moon, which may even take on a reddish hue. This will also be the year’s final lunar eclipse.
According to NASA, the event will begin on November 19 at approximately 2.19 a.m. EST (12.49 p.m. India time).
The eclipse will be divided into four major phases, according to the US space agency, with the moon entering the penumbra, or the lighter part of the moon‘s shadow, at 1.02 a.m. EST. Because the darkening is so subtle, this phase is usually difficult to detect without special equipment.
At 2.18 a.m. EST, the moon will reach the umbra, or the darker part of the shadow. The moon will pass through the deep shadow for about 3.5 hours before exiting the umbra at 5.47 a.m. At 6.03 a.m. EST, the eclipse will come to an end.
The maximum eclipse will occur at 4.03 a.m. EST, when 97 percent of the moon’s face will be covered by the deepest part of the Earth’s shadow and will most likely turn a deep red, according to the observatory.
The full moon in November is traditionally known as the Beaver Moon because beavers are preparing for winter, hence the Beaver Moon eclipse moniker for this month’s event.
At least part of the eclipse will be visible in North and South America, Eastern Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Region, NASA said.
For US East Coast observers, the partial eclipse begins a little after 2 a.m., reaching its maximum at 4 in the morning. For observers on the West Coast, that translates to beginning just after 11 p.m., with a maximum at 1 a.m.
“Partial lunar eclipses might not be quite as spectacular as total lunar eclipses — where the moon is completely covered in Earth’s shadow — but they occur more frequently. And that just means more opportunities to witness little changes in our solar system that sometimes occur right before our eyes,” NASA said.