The longest partial lunar eclipse of the century will take place this week between Thursday (Nov. 18) and Friday (Nov. 19). Earth’s shadow will cover 97% of the full moon, blocking most of the sun’s light and staining the moon a dark, rusty red. It will be the longest partial lunar eclipse in 580 years. The eclipse will be visible in North America, South America, Europe and parts of Asia, including India.
The last time an eclipse this long happened was February 18, 1440 and the next time a similar phenomenon can be witnessed on February 8, 2669.
The partial eclipse will start at 12.48 pm and end at 4.17 pm. The duration of the eclipse will be 3 hours 28 minutes and 24 seconds, making it the longest in 580 years.
It will be visible in India at 2.34 pm. The moon is likely to appear blood-red in colour, which happens when the red beams of the sunlight pass through the Earth’s atmosphere and get least deflected and fall on the moon.
A lunar eclipse occurs when Earth comes in between the Moon and the Sun. When the Sun, Earth, and the Moon are not fully aligned, the Earth obstructs some of the Sun’s light from reaching the Moon. This causes a slight darkening of the moon. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon and Sun are on opposite sides of Earth, a partial lunar eclipse happens when only part of Earth’s shadow covers the Moon.
For a Partial Lunar Eclipse to occur, the conditions required is a full Moon aligned in a straight line with Sun and the Earth. However, a partial lunar eclipse does not happen on every full moon since the lunar body is inclined on its orbital plane at an angle of five degrees to the Earth’s orbital plane (ecliptic) around the Sun.