The next full moon will remain partially obscured by the earth’s shadow for a few hours as the longest “almost complete” lunar eclipse of nearly 600 years adorns the western sky beginning Thursday night.
As many as 99% of the moon glides into the Earth’s shadow when the event reaches its peak early Friday, when a celestial body appears to turn red, NASA reports.
Provided the night sky is clear, a partial lunar eclipse should be visible to the naked eye. For those dealing with a cloudy sky, it can also be viewed online here and here.
Stargazers may witness the onset of partial lunar eclipse at approximately 11:19 p.m. PST.
At about 12:45 a.m., the moon begins to glow reddish when more than 95% of its disk is covered, according to the space agency.
The event peaks at 1.03 and is the best time to see the red hue of the moon.
“The color may be easier to see with binoculars or a telescope,” NASA said on its website. “Using the camera on a tripod with a exposure of several seconds brings out the color at the expense of overexposing the illuminated part of the moon.”
By 1.20 a.m., the moon will no longer look red, and at 2:47 a.m., the partial eclipse will officially end.
This partial lunar eclipse, which begins in just over 3 hours and 28 minutes, is the longest in a century – according to NASA, it is also the longest since 1440. Looking to the future, it will not be longer until 2669.
Weather permitting, the event should be visible throughout North America as well as much of South America, Polynesia, Eastern Australia and Northeast Asia.
“Partial lunar eclipses may not be quite as spectacular as complete lunar eclipses – where the Moon is completely obscured by the Earth’s shadow – but they occur more often,” NASA said on its website. “And it just means more opportunities to witness the small changes in our solar system that sometimes happen before our eyes.”
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