Home » The longest (partial) lunar eclipse of the century: what it is and where to see it

The longest (partial) lunar eclipse of the century: what it is and where to see it

Partial lunar eclipse: look up on November 19 to see the longest lunar eclipse of the century. Here's what it is, how and where to see it.

Categories Astronomy

Get out your calendar and mark November 19: the sky will offer us a spectacular eclipse. In fact, the Earth will cast its shadow on the Moon creating the longest lunar eclipse (partial) of the century. NASA has drawn up a calendar of all lunar eclipses from 2001 to 2100 and the one on 19 November will be the longest. Well 3 hours, 28 minutes and 23 seconds! In Italy only a few regions will be able to see it, those further north. More precisely Val D’Aosta, Piedmont, Lombardy, Liguria, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Trentino Alto Adige.

On November 19, look up for the longest partial lunar eclipse of the century. Here's what it is, how and where to see it.
Credit: NASA

The Beaver Moon

The full moon on November 19 will reach peak illumination at 3:59 a.m. (EST) Eastern Standard Time in the U.S. To find out when and if it will be visible from your area, just consult the Moonrise and Moonset Calculator. This full moon is called Beaver Moon and, this year, it will be accompanied by the longest (partial) lunar eclipse of the century. The Earth will cover about 98 percent of the Moon with its shadow.

The name of this Moon has its origins in Native Americans. In fact, November is the time of year when beavers begin to hibernate in their burrows. In this month, hunters would take advantage of the opportunity to catch them and sell their skins at the market. Thus, the name Beaver Moon was born and is still used today.

On November 19, look up for the longest partial lunar eclipse of the century. Here's what it is, how and where to see it.
Credit: NASA

The century’s longest (partial) lunar eclipse: what is it?

We understand that this eclipse will be the longest of the century, and the name of this full moon has roots far back in time. Now, it remains to understand what a lunar eclipse is and what to expect. The lunar eclipse, then, occurs when the Earth casts its shadow across the face of the Moon. This is only possible when the Earth is exactly in between the Sun and Moon.

If, however, the three celestial bodies are not perfectly aligned, a partial eclipse occurs. As in the case of this century’s longest partial lunar eclipse. The spectacle, however, will be no less. In fact, given the distances between the bodies and their respective sizes, the Earth will cast a cone of shadow. This overshadowing, combined with the refraction of the sun’s rays on the Earth’s atmosphere, will color the moon red.

On November 19, look up for the longest partial lunar eclipse of the century. Here's what it is, how and where to see it.
Credit: NASA

Partial or total eclipse, which is the longest?

This will be the longest partial lunar eclipse of the century. Although it will be partial, from Earth this will not be noticed. In fact, about 98% of the Moon will be obscured: only a small 2% separates it from totality.

About total lunar eclipses, the longest one of the century has already happened. In fact, in July 2018 the Earth’s shadow completely covered the Moon for 1 hour, 42 minutes and 56 seconds. However, still less than the eclipse that we will see in a few days.

On November 19, look up for the longest partial lunar eclipse of the century. Here's what it is, how and where to see it.

How to Watch the Longest Lunar Eclipse of the Century

Unlike a solar eclipse, the lunar eclipse does not require special protection and anyone can safely observe it with the naked eye. If, however, you want to watch it better you can use binoculars or a telescope, preferably away from sources of illumination. Light pollution should not be a problem but, in this way, you can fully enjoy the experience. Also, it’s best to arrive 20-30 minutes early to give your eyes a chance to adjust to the darkness. Now, all you have to do is wait until November 19 to witness the longest lunar eclipse of the century.

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