Longest partial lunar eclipse in nearly 600 years to occur Thursday night, November 18th

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Image via timeanddate.com

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Get ready to view something astronomical!

On Thursday night, November 18th all of the United States will get to view a near-total lunar eclipse with a duration that has not been observed since the year 1440 and won’t be seen again until the year 2669.

Why is this so special? For a partial lunar eclipse, the duration of this length is unusual. The key to why is due to the position of the moon with respect to its orbit around the Earth.

At the time of the event, the moon will be about 40 hours away from Apogee. Apogee is the point in the moon’s orbit where it is farthest away from Earth and it is also the slowest. This is what helps make for a longer duration.

On Thursday night, the moon will enter Earth’s penumbra, the outer part of our planet’s shadow. As we reach the peak of the event, 97% of the moon will be within Earth’s umbra, the inner part of our planet’s shadow while a tiny sliver (3%) of the moon will remain in Earth’s penumbra hence it qualifying as a partial lunar eclipse and not a total one.

From beginning to end, this event will last 6 hours and 2 minutes. Check out the important times below:
*Reminder, this will take place Thursday night into Friday morning (Nov. 18-19)*

  • Partial Eclipse Begins: 12:02 AM CST
  • Max Eclipse: 3:02 AM CST
  • Partial Eclipse Ends: 6:03 AM CST

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