Beaver ‘blood’ moon lunar eclipse reaches spectacular peak

This lunar eclipse will be the longest in 580 years

Adam Smith
Friday 19 November 2021 09:23
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The Moon has reached its peak in a lunar eclipse, moving into the shadow of the Earth for the longest time since the 15th Century.

The Beaver Moon eclipse - as is its traditional name among Native American tribes - started at 7.18am GMT and will last for just over six hours.

With only 97.4 per cent of the Moon’s diameter covered by the Earth’s shadow, the celestial movement falls slightly short of being classified as a total eclipse.

Nasa advises those who want to see the spectacle to focus on the constellation of Taurus, in particular the Pleiades star cluster at the top right or the Hyades cluster in the lower left.

The whole event will be visible in the United States, but the dawning of the Sun on Friday morning in the United Kingdom will stop people from seeing the second half of the spectacular event.

The eclipse comes less than half a year after the last partial lunar eclipse in May 2021.

Instead of its usual white, the moon will have a slightly red tint because of the scattering of light waves - the same process which makes the sky appear blue.

The process, called Rayleigh Scattering, splits light waves into their wavelengths. Red has a longer wavelength than blue, and travels more directly through the atmosphere.

“During a lunar eclipse, the Moon turns red because the only sunlight reaching the Moon passes through Earth’s atmosphere. The more dust or clouds in Earth’s atmosphere during the eclipse, the redder the Moon will appear”, Nasa says.

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