Photo by: Claudio Testa
On Nov. 8, individuals can gather around in the early hours of the day to witness the final total lunar eclipse of the year. Following the event, there won’t be another total lunar eclipse until 2025.
The eclipse will mainly be witnessed in Eastern, Atlantic and Newfoundland time zones across North America, however the rest of the continent will also have a chance to observe the event at a later time.
St. Catharines, under the Eastern time zone, will witness a partial umbral eclipse beginning at 4:09 a.m., followed by the total lunar eclipse at 5:16 a.m. and the greatest eclipse at 5:59 a.m. The eclipse will end at 6:41 a.m. For those hoping to catch the event in a separate time zone, the visibility times will be slightly different.
Lunar eclipses only occur when the Earth is positioned precisely between the Moon and the Sun. This causes the Earth’s shadow to fall upon the surface of the moon, both dimming the Moon’s surface and sometimes turning its surface red, which can last for a few hours. Lunar eclipses only occur at the full moon phase and are visible from half of the Earth.
There are three different kinds of lunar eclipses. A partial lunar eclipse—which will also be visible on Nov. 8—is an imperfect alignment of the Sun, Earth and Moon, causing the moon to travel through part of the Earth’s umbra and causing the shadow to grow and recede without ever fully covering the Moon. A penumbral eclipse is when the Moon travels through the Earth’s penumbra or parts of its shadow, causing the Moon to dim slightly. Finally, the total lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon moves into the Earth’s shadow. The sunlight passing through Earth’s atmosphere then reaches the Moon’s surface, lighting it in a way that causes the Moon to appear orangish or reddish.
Due to the slight tint in the moon’s orbit, eclipses are not very common. Months that do not have eclipses are due to the full or new Moon being positioned above or below the Earth’s shadow. However, the November full Moon, otherwise known as the Beaver Moon, will pass through the Earth’s shadow for a maximum of three hours and 40 minutes, causing the total lunar eclipse.
Despite the total lunar eclipse’s duration, total obscuration of the Moon typically ranges from 30 minutes to over an hour, so be sure to catch the eclipse at the right time to avoid missing the event.
Total lunar eclipses are visible from any given location only every two and a half years on average. Although the next lunar eclipse will occur on Oct. 28, 2023, it will only be a partial type, with 12 per cent of the Earth being able to witness the event. The next total lunar eclipse, on March 14, 2025, will be visible to all of North America.
Although the Nov. 8 eclipse will be an extremely early experience, individuals will want to keep an eye out, notably due to the over two-year-long waiting period until the following total lunar eclipse.
The incredible show will be an experience no individual will want to miss, and is most definitely something worth getting out of bed for.