WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — For the first time in nearly 600 years, there will the longest partial lunar eclipse Thursday, Nov. 18.
This special lunar eclipse is called a “beaver moon.”
There are two types of eclipses, a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse.
According to Nick Atanasio, a content creator for the Cosmosphere, a solar eclipse is when the moon comes between the earth and the sun, causing the moon to cast a shadow on earth, and a lunar eclipse is when the earth comes between the sun and the moon, causing the earth to cast a shadow on the moon.
“Tonight’s going to be close to what’s called a blood moon, but not a full blood moon. A blood moon is what happens when the moon is entirely 100 percent in the shadow of the earth, but tonight it’s going to be just barely not, about 97 percent in the shadow of the earth. So, there will be a tiny sliver that’s still lit up by the sun, but the rest will be lit up by the earth,” said Atanasio. ” It’s called a blood moon because where normally the moon receives its light from the sun and it just reflects that white light back, tonight the light will be coming through the atmosphere before it hits the moon. So, kind of like all the sunrises and sunsets on earth at once on the moon’s surface which makes it a reddish-brown color.”
What makes this beaver moon lunar eclipse so special, according to Atanasio, is because the moon is at its apogee in its orbit, or at its farthest point away from earth.
Because of this, the beaver moon lunar eclipse will be visible for longer, as the moon is further away and therefore will have more time to be in the shadow of the earth.
As you might have suspected, the term “beaver moon” comes from the animal itself.
“That name comes from a time when there were more beavers out in the wild. As they gathered materials to prepare their habitats for the winter, people used to put out more beaver traps during this time to make sure that they would catch them and have furs to hold up against the cold of the winter,” said Atanasio.
Across the Midwest, you will be able to see the beaver moon lunar eclipse between midnight and 5 a.m., with the brightest shade of red being visible in the middle of that time period, according to Atanasio.