A Middle of the Night Masterpiece


This year on Nov. 8 the autumn sky will become shrouded in a deep red haze. At this time, the Moon will begin its second total lunar eclipse of the year, the first having occurred on May 16. The most optimal time to observe this beautiful event will take place around three o’clock in the early morning of Nov. 8.

This lunar eclipse is one of 72 eclipses included in the Saros 136 series, a cycle that occurs every 12-15 centuries and includes up to 80 eclipses. There are a variety of these series that categorize different lunar eclipses, but following the one on Nov. 8, the next lunar eclipse in the series will not occur until 2040. 

In the time of a lunar eclipse, the Moon will move through the sky in its typical motion, however, as it moves, it will become entirely blocked from the light of the sun. In this brief time, the earth will stand directly between the two, preventing the Moon from receiving any of the sun’s rays. As the Moon creeps further across the sky and becomes more deeply shadowed, it will appear a deep scarlet color. The Moon typically presents itself as a luminous white color, but due to the lack of light that it receives during a lunar eclipse, this will not be the case. Instead, the little light that shines on it scatters and allows it to appear a deep red tone. This is why it’s often called a Blood Moon, being the only time that the Moon will appear truly red. 

Unfortunately, not many people have heard about this upcoming event. When students were asked if they had heard of the lunar eclipse, many responded that they had not. 

Emma Campbell, a junior, answered, “I don’t know what a lunar eclipse is but I’ve heard of them; I had no idea that there was one in November,” she follows her statement by saying, “I would be very interested in watching it because I love to watch the stars and Moon in the late summer and fall.” 

Others have expressed interest in viewing this spectacular event as well:“I really like astrology and I would be interested in watching the lunar eclipse,” exclaimed senior, Mia Briggs.

Luckily for us, the East Coast is one of the best places to witness this breathtaking spectacle, along with Asia, Australia, and the Pacific. 

Just before daybreak on Nov. 8 the Moon will begin its journey through a lunar eclipse. Beginning at 3:02 a.m., the earth’s penumbra will begin to graze the face of the Moon. At this time, the typical brightness of the Moon will begin to dim. The Moon will continue to travel across the sky, its face developing a rosy hue around 4 a.m. As the Moon continues to shift deeper in line with the Earth’s shadow, it will continue to grow to a deeper red. 

At 5:59 a.m., the Moon will reach the center point of the Earth’s shadow. During this time, the Moon will be completely blocked from the light of the Sun, embracing its darkest point. At this point, the Moon will reach its deepest red hue throughout the duration of the night, and after this point, will begin to become a brighter white once again. As the sky begins to brighten and the day breaks around 6:30 a.m. the Moon will continue its movement through the sky and return to its regular color before disappearing below the horizon.

This is absolutely a must-see for anyone who enjoys celestial events or who hopes to see the sole total lunar eclipse happening until 2025. For those in Monroe, there are many good places to view the eclipse. The best place to be able to see the Moon would be any large, open, space. One recommendation would be to use a large front yard or back yard, where your view of the sky will not be obstructed by houses or trees. Though you may be tired the next day, seeing this extraordinary sight will be worth the while.

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