The Longest Partial Lunar Eclipse For 580 Years Is Tonight

If you're a keen stargazer, you're in for a treat this week.

The longest lunar eclipse in nearly 600 years will be taking place - and yep, it's the longest since the reign of Henry VI!

Per NASA, for three hours and 28 minutes, the sun, Earth, and moon will align to form a partial lunar eclipse, as reported by CNET.

It will take place from Thursday, November 18, through to Friday, November 19, and most of North America will be able to get a good look.

NASA's statistics on lunar eclipses from 2001 through 2100 revealed that this month's event will be the longest of the century. Previous to this, the longest total eclipse of the century transpired in 2018, and lasted for almost an hour and 43 minutes.

If you're keen to learn more, The Holcomb Observatory in Indiana took to Twitter to share a handy infographic of what to expect from the celestial experience.

"LONGEST PARTIAL ECLIPSE of the CENTURY to occur in the pre-dawn hours of November 19th," they tweeted. "Maximum eclipse is at 4:03 AM EST when 97% of the Moon will be eclipsed. At that time it will be high in our western sky. This will also be the longest partial lunar eclipse in 580 years!"

If you're heading out to watch the lunar eclipse, it's not the same as viewing an eclipse of the sun. As such, you will not need to purchase any special sunglasses or equipment to view it safely.

Lunar eclipses transpire when the sun, Earth and a full moon line up almost perfectly — this event is referred to as a syzygy.

The moon then moves into the Earth's shadow slowly, until the lunar disk appears to turn from silvery grey to a light orangey-red shade. This whole process then reverses itself until the moon returns to normal.

As this will be the last lunar eclipse of this year, make sure you don't miss out. It will be visible to most of the globe across the evening of November 18 and November 19 — though, exact viewing times will depend on where you're based.

Some of the eclipse, however, will be visible in large swathes of America, Australia, and areas of Europe and Asia.

The next lunar eclipse will take place on May 15, 2022.

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