The ‘beaver moon’ will be 97 percent blocked by the darkest part of Earth’s shadow, becoming a ‘blood moon’

A lunar eclipse is framed within Turret Arch at Arches National Park near Moab, Utah, on Dec. 10, 2011. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

By Matthew Cappucci

Skywatchers on Thursday night will be treated to a near-total lunar eclipse as the full moon is plunged into the blood-red light cast by Earth’s shadow. The spectacle will be visible from all of North America, with the exception of eastern Greenland, including the entire Lower 48, Alaska and Hawaii, as well as parts of South America and Russia.

Though it’s technically not a total lunar eclipse, it’s about as close as one can get to totality without actually being there. At peak, 97 percent of the moon will be covered by the umbra, or the darkest part of Earth’s shadow. Only a sliver on the bottom left of the moon will remain faintly illuminated.

A striking element of Thursday night’s eclipse will be its duration — 3 hours, 28 minutes and 24 seconds, according to Space.com, which it says makes it the longest partial eclipse in 580 years.

Remembering the 2019 total solar eclipse over La Serena, Chile

At the time of the eclipse, the moon will be full. Some refer to the November full moon as the “beaver moon,” a name assigned by Native Americans when beavers were particularly active in preparation for winter and it was time to set traps, according to NASA. The November full moon is also sometimes called the frost, frosty or snow moon for the wintry conditions beginning at this time of year, NASA writes.

A moon, once eclipsed, is also sometimes called a “blood moon” because of its reddish or rusty tone.

The eclipse will begin when many are asleep along the East Coast, but those residing on the West Coast don’t need to be night dwellers to take in the best parts of the show.

The lunar eclipse will begin at 1:02 a.m. Eastern time Friday, or 10:02 p.m. Pacific time Thursday. That’s when the penumbra, or peripheral darkening associated with the Earth’s shadow, will nick the moon. There won’t be much noticeable difference in how the moon appears. For that, you’ll have to wait until 2:18 a.m. Eastern time, when the umbra begins traversing the moon.

There won’t be any “totality,” but the eclipse will grow deeper and more intense until 4:02 a.m. Eastern time, when more than 97 percent of the moon will be immersed in the umbra. It’s not technically a total eclipse, but for all intents and purposes, it is from a visual standpoint.

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