The longest lunar eclipse in 580 years will be visible early Fri. morning, Nov. 19.

The eclipse will turn November’s “Beaver Moon” a reddish hue, hence the name, “Blood Moon.” You’ll have to get up early to see it in all its glory, though, as it will peak between 2 and 4 a.m. It won’t be totally red, though; during the event only 97% of the Moon will enter Earth’s shadow in space, leaving a tiny portion still illuminated by the Sun.

The Blood Moon will last 3 hours, 28 minutes, and 23 seconds, the longest eclipse in 580 years. It will be visible throughout North America.

As to why it turns the moon red, here is the explanation from Short-wavelength blue light from the Sun hits molecules in Earth’s atmosphere and scatters, but longer-wavelength red and orange light mostly travels right through, striking fewer molecules. So the dominant color of light we’ll see on the Moon for that short time will be red. The physics is the same as for a sunset or sunrise. In fact, during a lunar eclipse the effect is like thousands of sunrises and sunsets being projected onto the lunar surface.

While you don’t need any special equipment to view the eclipse (except maybe an alarm clock), it is recommended that you get away from city lights for the best viewing.

The November full moon is also called the “Frost Moon” because it is the last full moon of autumn.

There will be a total solar eclipse in Dec. but it will only be viewable from Antarctica.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

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