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Energy & Environment

How to see the longest partial lunar eclipse in nearly 600 years

lunar eclipse
Annie Spratt
A partial lunar eclipse is expected to give the moon a reddish hue.

The longest partial lunar eclipse in 580 years begins after midnight early Friday morning.

Dr. Daniel Caton, professor of physics and astronomy at Appalachian State University, has advice on the best way to view the Beaver Moon eclipse for anyone who stays up late — or gets up very early Friday.

“You need a clear view of the western sky, down as low as you can. So you’ll need to get away from trees and buildings and other things like that," Caton said. "It’s a naked-eye event, but if you have binoculars those are particularly good for this since they have a nice field of view and you’ll get a kind of close up view of the moon in eclipse."

Caton says the moon will start to enter the dark part of Earth’s shadow at 2:20 a.m. Friday and be out of it completely by 5:48 a.m. In those three and a half hours in between, the moon will lose its distinctive glow.

"It’ll be robbed of it’s blue component," Caton said. "That’s scattered out and that makes our blue sky. So it’s robbed of the blue component and that reddish light will light the moon. You get a so-called 'Blood Moon.' If it happens to be mostly cloudy in that band around the Earth, then light won’t get through and it’ll be kind of a ruddy grayish-brown.”

According to space.com, the Beaver Moon is named for the beaver hunting season just before winter.

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