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BLOOD MOON - Here's how to see the longest lunar eclipse in six centuries TONIGHT
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Tens of millions of people will be treated to a remarkable event tonight, if they stay up --or get up early enough to view it. The longest lunar eclipse of the past six centuries will happen in the late night and early morning hours of November 18-19, 2021.
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LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The longest partial lunar eclipse in six centuries will happen tonight, starting at 2 AM EST (Nov. 19), and 11 PM PST (Nov.18). In a lunar eclipse, the full moon is darkened by the Earth's shadow passing across the lunar surface. Typically, the moon appears orange, or even almost completely black, as the shadow passes by.
In tonight's event, a narrow sliver of the moon will remain bright, making the moon easy to locate in the sky. However, most of the lunar disk will be orange or black, as the Earth's shadow passes across the moon's face.
The November moon is also called the 'Blood Moon' in popular lore. This is because the November moon is bright enough for hunters to wait and ambush deer and other animals, traditionally taken to sustain their families through the approaching winter season.
The event does not require any special glasses, or a telescope to view. It is best viewed with the naked eye, and can be seen by merely looking skyward for the moon. The only preparation recommended is to bundle up against the nighttime cold. Layered clothing will keep a person warm, in addition to a mug of hot chocolate.
The sight can be viewed from indoors as well, as long as the interior of the room is completely dark. Turning off outdoor lights, or traveling to a place with few outdoor lights will also help with viewing. Lights from porches, indoor spaces, headlights, flashlights, and street lamps, contribute to 'light pollution' which makes it harder to see the stars and other sights the night sky has to offer. City dwellers are often cheated of views of the nighttime sky, while rural denizens often see so many stars the constellations can be difficult to discern.
However, even city dwellers should be able to see the lunar eclipse, since the moon is typically large and bright. That said, it is still worth it to find a dark location. People can help themselves and others to see the miraculous event by turning off unnecessary light, even if just for a short time.
Exceptionally bright light sources, such as lighting from sports fields that aren't in use, should be turned off as these are massive contributors to light pollution. Generally, public petitions can benefit the cause.
The eclipse will reach its maximum around 1 AM on Friday on the West coast.
The eclipse does not portend anything special or significant, although ancient civilizations often read much into these heavenly signs. typically, lunar eclipses happen about twice per year, although they are not always visible to everyone. Tonight's eclipse will be best seen in North America. Folks living on the other side of the world will be out of luck.
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