Photo: Foto2rich/Shutterstock

North America Is in Prime Viewing Position for the Longest Lunar Eclipse of the Century

News Astronomy
by Morgane Croissant Nov 5, 2021

The longest partial lunar eclipse of the 21st century will take place overnight on November 18 and 19, 2021. And if you’re in North America, you’re golden: You’ll be able to see the entire eclipse, which NASA predicted will last three hours, 28 minutes, and 23 seconds.

path of visibility of the partial lunar eclipse

The darker shades show the areas where the eclipse will be the most visible. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

While the must-see celestial event is technically a partial lunar eclipse, the experts at astronomy website EarthSky explain that “With a just thin sliver of the moon exposed to direct sun at maximum eclipse, the rest of the moon should take on the characteristically ruddy colors of a total lunar eclipse.”

Lunar eclipses take place when the earth blocks the sun’s light and projects its shadow on the full moon. During a total lunar eclipse, the moon takes on shades of red and orange in a phenomenon called a blood moon.

partial lunar eclipse

Photo: Foto2rich/Shutterstock

If the sky is clear where you are and the moon is above the horizon, you should be able to see this exceptional partial lunar eclipse starting at 2 AM with the peak at 4 AM for those on the East Coast, and starting at 11 PM with a 1 AM peak for those on the West Coast.

Unlike with a solar eclipse, you don’t need to wear special glasses to protect your eyes from the light. You don’t even need special equipment to see this partial lunar eclipse at all — the naked eye is enough. Here’s all the camping gear you need if you head out to see this.

For a total lunar eclipse visible in the whole of North America, you’ll need to wait until March 14, 2025. Alternatively you can plan a trip around the next total lunar eclipses by checking out Matador Network‘s list of the next 10 total lunar eclipses taking place around the world. And if that’s solar eclipses that you’re after, we’ve got the next 10 total solar eclipses all sorted out for you, too.

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