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'Blood micromoon': Why is the Beaver Moon Lunar Eclipse so rare?

Google Oneindia News

New Delhi, Nov 17: Stargazers will be treated to a "blood micro-moon" or near-total lunar eclipse-the longest of the century and the first of this length in 580 years.

    Lunar eclipse on November 19: Do's and Don'ts | Myth busters | Oneindia News

    On the morning of Friday, November 19, the full Beaver Moon will take place in a 97%-total lunar eclipse, according to NASA, meaning that nearly all of the moon's surface will be shrouded in the Earth's shadow.

    Blood micromoon: Why is the Beaver Moon Lunar Eclipse so rare?

    The November Full Moon is coming up Friday, Nov. 19, at 6.02 and 12.30 UTC (11.30 am to 5.33 pm IST), and it is a big one! This occurrence takes place when the Sun, Earth and Moon will come into alignment forming a partial lunar eclipse. It has a few names, too, but the most common names are Full Beaver Moon or Full Frost Moon.

    What is the Beaver Moon Lunar Eclipse 2021What is the Beaver Moon Lunar Eclipse 2021

    So if you're an avid astrophotographer, this means there'll be plenty of time to set up your gear and capture a blood-red slice of the celestial.

    For a partial lunar eclipse to take place, the condition required is a full Moon aligned in a straight line with the Sun and Earth. A partial Lunar Eclipse would not take place on every full Moon. This is because a lunar body is inclined on its orbital plane at an angle of five degrees to the Earth's orbital plane around the Sun.

    What's also interesting is that the moon is at apogee, meaning that the moon is farther away than usual, making it look smaller than usual. When the moon is at apogee it is about 252,700 miles away.

    When it is at the closest point it is about 221,500 miles away, or 31,200 miles closer. You could call this moon the Full Micro Beaver Moon or Full Micro Frost Moon.

    Why the name 'Beaver'?

    The eclipse falls around the same time when hunters would set traps for beavers, according to Butler University's Holcomb Observatory.

    The Beaver Moon lunar eclipse will be the longest partial lunar eclipse in 580 years - and it will likely look just as spectacular as the dramatic "Super Flower Blood Moon" back in May.

    It's technically categorized as a "partial" eclipse, but the moon will look similar to how it would during a "total" eclipse - reddish, coppery hues and all - because more than 97% of it will be covered up by the Earth's shadow.

    Known as an apogean full moon (by astronomers), this miniature-sized moon takes much more time to travel the Earth's shadow than one closer to our orbit. This small size combined with the reddish glow gives it the title of a 'Blood Micro Moon'.

    Why is the Beaver Moon Lunar Eclipse so rare?

    The sun, Earth and moon are aligning, as they do every so often each year, but this Friday's lunar eclipse is rare for a few reasons.

    First, the timing. The eclipse will last from about 6.02 and 12.30 UTC (11.30 am to 5.33 pm IST) Friday - one of the longest lunar eclipses in centuries - because of where the moon will be located.

    It will be at its furthest point away from Earth, making it a "micromoon." That far distance means less gravity. So as a result, the moon will move slower and spend longer traveling through Earth's shadow.

    It's the opposite of the more commonly-known "supermoon" phenomena.

    Second, the amount of moon covered this time makes this eclipse noteworthy. Because of the way the orbit is set up right now, 97.3% of the moon will be covered up by the deepest, darkest part of Earth's shadow, called the umbra.

    In a normal "total" eclipse, up to 99.1% of the moon falls within the umbra, according to NASA.

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