Looks to the skies for a deep orange celestial show you don’t want to miss.
The last total lunar eclipse for the next three years will occur in the early hours of tomorrow morning. Though there will be plenty of partial eclipses in the coming years, the next full lunar eclipse isn’t expected to occur until March 14, 2025.
If you’re keen to grasp the opportunity, early tomorrow the celestial spectacle can be experienced for almost 90 minutes before sunrise.
What is a total lunar eclipse?
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth, and Moon align so that the Moon passes into Earth’s shadow. NASA describes a total lunar eclipse as when “the entire Moon falls within the darkest part of Earth’s shadow, called the umbra. When the Moon is within the umbra, it will turn a reddish hue. Lunar eclipses are sometimes called “Blood Moons” because of this phenomenon.”
The red or orange color of the eclipse comes from sunlight passing through the atmosphere and shining onto the Moon.
When exactly will the total lunar eclipse happen?
According to Adler Planetarium, “in Chicago and most of North America in the very early morning hours of November 8th, the Moon will enter the Earth’s shadow, eventually turning a deep orange or red color as its fully-eclipsed. For those in the Central time zone, the Moon will start to be noticeably eclipsed at 3:09 am and will be fully eclipsed from 4:16 a until 5:41 am, a little less than an hour before sunrise.”
Time and Date predict the entire spectacle to last for 4 hours, 39 minutes, and the total lunar eclipse to reach its maximum magnitude at precisely 04:59.
How can I best observe the total lunar eclipse?
The best viewing conditions are, of course, a dark environment away from bright lights and the city. While you won’t need any special equipment to observe the total lunar eclipse, NASA advises that using “binoculars or a telescope will enhance the view and the red color”.
You can check this light pollution map to find a dark sky void of light pollution near to you. More information specific to Chicago can be found at this Time and Date page dedicated to viewing total eclipses.
If you’re not able to view the total lunar eclipse but still want to experience it in some capacity can also visit NASA’s Dial-a-Moon for a visualization of the eclipse.
[Featured image from Shutterstock]