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Almost total lunar eclipse Thursday night visible across Alaska

This will be the longest partial lunar eclipse in a millennium.
The moon rising over Anchorage on November 17th.
The moon rising over Anchorage on November 17th.(Carl Brown)
Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 7:20 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Late Thursday into early Friday morning the sun, Earth, and moon will become aligned, casting a shadow on the moon for several hours and turning the full moon a deep red color.

Starting at 9:02 p.m. The moon will enter the penumbra, which is the outer part of the Earth’s shadow. At this stage, the moon will begin to grow dim. It is when the moon enters the umbra, though, that the partial eclipse begins, which will start at 10:18 p.m. This stage is easily seen with the naked eye. It will appear as though the shape of the moon is changing.

At 12:02 a.m. is when the moon will be closest to the center of the shadow. At this maximum point of the eclipse, more than 99% of the moon is inside the Earth’s shadow. This will make the moon appear a dark red because the only light reaching the moon is traveling through Earth’s atmosphere.

The partial eclipse will end at 1:47 a.m., and at 3:03 a.m. the penumbral portion of the eclipse is over.

Tonight is the night! 🌕🌓🌙🌒An almost total lunar eclipse! Starting at 9:02 AKST the Sun, Earth, and Moon will become aligned, casting a shadow on the Moon for several hours and turning the full Moon a deep red color. At 12:02 a.m. is when the moon will be closest to the center of the shadow, the maximum point of the eclipse. Check out why this is a once in a millennium eclipse: https://www.alaskasnewssource.com/2021/11/19/almost-total-lunar-eclipse-thursday-night-visible-across-alaska/

Posted by Melissa Frey on Thursday, November 18, 2021

The eclipse will last 3 hours, 28 minutes and 23 seconds, which according to NASA, is the longest partial eclipse since the year 1440. We won’t see another partial lunar eclipse this long again until Feb. 8, 2669. There will, however, be a total lunar eclipse that will last longer on Nov. 8, 2022.

The reason this eclipse is so long, is because the moon is currently near its further point from the Earth, so it takes longer to cross the shadow, but also because this eclipse is almost a total eclipse, with more of the moon appearing inside the shadow.

If you capture photos of the eclipse, share them with Alaska’s Weather Source here.

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