2020 might end on a decent note after all. The year’s fourth and final penumbral lunar eclipse is happening next week. Early on Monday, November 30, the full Frosty Moon will be eclipsed by the Earth’s outer shadow.
When the sun, Earth, and moon line up it’s called a syzygy by astronomers. A penumbral lunar eclipse is when the syzygy is so perfect that the moon moves into the Earth’s shadow. The Earth’s outer shadow is called its penumbra, and the visual effect is that of a gradual darkening. On November 30, 2020, 83 percent of the full moon will be eclipsed by our planet’s shadow.
Three penumbral eclipses have already occurred in 2020, though each looks slightly different depending on how much of the moon is covered by the Earth’s shadow. During July Fourth’s penumbral eclipse, only 35 percent of the moon was covered by Earth, making this month’s event much more striking.
The Frost Moon’s moonrise will happen on November 29, with the eclipse to follow. The peak of the eclipse will happen at 4:42 AM ET on November 30.
And if you miss it, you can still look up and enjoy the Frosty Moon, which is the name of this month’s full moon. Yeah, it looks exactly the same as every other month’s full moon, but in 2020 beggars can’t be choosers when it comes to entertainment.