(WVNS) — In the early hours of Friday, November 19, 2021, the longest lunar eclipse, partial or full, of the century is set to occur and will be visible to all of North America.
A long-duration eclipse will work in stargazers favor Friday morning as clouds will likely be lingering into early Friday morning from an exiting cold front the day before. At 3 hours and 28 minutes long, there will be plenty of opportunities to get a glimpse of the “Blood Moon”.
Lunar Eclipse: The Basics
A lunar eclipse is essentially the opposite of a Solar Eclipse, in this case, the Earth is casting a shadow across the moon. Remember the moon doesn’t naturally produce light, it only reflects sunlight! There are two shadows produced. The first is the “Penumbra” which is the “soft shadow” that will slightly darken the moon when it passes. The second is called the “Umbra”, or the “hard shadow” in this case. When this passes over the moon it takes on the distinctive shade of red expected during a Lunar Eclipse. The red color comes from sunlight that gets bent through the atmosphere and shines on the moon, all the other colors except for red get scattered out. The process is identical to how we get red sunrises and sunsets!
What should we expect in West Virginia?
Once again, it’s important to remain wary we’ll see much due to having clouds in the forecast but if we do manage to clear out we’ll be in for quite a show as the eclipse happens. It will be an early morning event, so be sure to plan ahead for this one. Earth’s umbra will begin to eclipse the moon at 2:18 am EST, and continue to bathe the moon in a reddish glow until the maximum partial eclipse (97.4%) occurs at 4:03 am EST. The partial eclipse will continue until 5:47 am EST when the moon will lose the red coloration but still remain dim as it’s shrouded by Earth’s penumbra.