- It’s the first Election Day total lunar eclipse in U.S. history.
- A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon and the sun are on exact opposite sides of Earth.
- You can see the eclipse in the wee hours before sunrise on November 8.
Sick of politics? Well, there is an astronomical spectacle coming on the morning of Election Day that we can all enjoy.
A total lunar eclipse will occur across the country early on Tuesday, November 8, astronomers say. It’s the first Election Day total lunar eclipse in U.S. history, according to EarthSky.org. And the next Election Day lunar eclipse won’t occur for another 372 years, on Nov. 8, 2394.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon and the sun are on exact opposite sides of Earth, according to NASA. When this happens, Earth blocks the sunlight that normally reaches the moon. Instead of that sunlight hitting the moon’s surface, Earth’s shadow falls on it.
Where and when can you see the eclipse?
Lunar eclipses can be visible from everywhere on the night side of the Earth, if the sky is clear, TimeandDate.com said. “From some places the entire eclipse will be visible, while in other areas the moon will rise or set during the eclipse.”
According to EarthSky’s Bruce McClure, if you live in the U.S., or elsewhere in North America, you can see the eclipse in the wee hours before sunrise on November 8.
In Washington, D.C., for example, the full eclipse will begin at 5:16 a.m. EST and end at 6:41 a.m. EST.
The ‘blood’ moon
When the Earth’s shadow covers the moon, it often produces a red color, which is why lunar eclipses often get the nickname “blood” moon.
The coloration happens because a bit of reddish sunlight still reaches the moon’s surface, even though it’s in Earth’s shadow.
No special glasses needed
What’s fun about lunar eclipses is that you don’t need special glasses or gizmos to view it, unlike a solar eclipse, so feel free to stare directly at the moon. Binoculars or a telescope will improve the view.
Folks who live in the western USA will have the best view of the full eclipse, while those in the central and eastern parts of the country will see the eclipse just before the moon sets below the horizon.
The ‘beaver’ moon
Aside from the eclipse, the November full moon is known as the beaver moon, according to the Old Farmers’ Almanac. “This was the time when beavers finished preparations for winter and retreated into their lodges.” the Almanac said. “In the 1760s, Captain Jonathan Carver heard this Native American term during his travels.”
It is sometimes also referred to as the frosty moon, the Farmer’s Almanac said.