COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Something will occur early on Tuesday, Nov. 8, that has never happened before.
According to EarthSky.org, this will be the first total lunar eclipse on Election Day in U.S. history (since 1776).
The eclipse will be visible for several hours, ending just before sunrise. Look low in the western sky for the spectacular view. The good news is that you do not need any special equipment.
Earth will align exactly between the sun and moon (syzygy), effectively blocking out sunlight from reaching the lunar surface, which is covered by Earth’s deep shadow, or umbra. (The outer shadow is called the penumbra.).
“The partial phases begin at about 4:09 a.m. (Eastern time) for the Columbus area,” Stevens said. “The Moon will be about 30 degrees above the western horizon when the dark part of the Earth’s shadow — the umbra — begins to mask its surface.”
The partial phases will begin at 4:09 a.m. (Eastern time) for the Tri-State area as well.
At the start of totality (5:17 a.m.), the moon will be a little more than 20 degrees above the western horizon. The greatest eclipse will be visible at 5:59 a.m., according to the National Weather Service in Charleston. Moonset (7:08 a.m.) marks the end of the eclipse, though twilight will diminish the luster near the very end, closer to sunrise (7:00 a.m.).
The full Beaver Moon — named by Native Americans for the time when active beavers build dams for the winter — will take on a reddish glow, known as a “blood moon.”
The coppery hue occurs because red and orange light waves are bent (refracted) passing through the edge of Earth’s atmosphere and reflected on the moon. We observe the light of all the sunrises and sunsets around the world simultaneously at this time.
The last lunar eclipse on Election Day in the U.S. was in 1846, but was only a penumbral eclipse that “grazed the lighter part of the Earth’s shadow,” according to Don Stevens, astrophysicist and observatory directory at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio.
The next total lunar eclipse won’t happen until March 14, 2025, so be sure to catch the celestial even!