Beautiful blood-red moon in bloom for lucky Australians during lunar eclipse

Fraser Barton and staff writersThe West Australian
VideoBlood moon set to make an appearance.

A blood-red moon will grace Australia’s skies on Friday evening when the country experiences a lunar eclipse, the first since a full eclipse in May.

The almost-perfect 99.1 per cent coverage of the moon’s area by earth’s umbra will see it blaze in a dark reddish hue, as the light from the earth’s atmosphere is refracted onto it.

Onlookers around Australia will witness the lunar eclipse - when the Earth sits between the moon and sun - for an unusually long duration, a total of six hours and two minutes.

Things are a bit different on the West Coast, however, with a penumbral lunar eclipse presenting for us here in Perth, as well as those in North/West Africa and much of Europe, while the rest of Australia, much of Asia, North America, South America, Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic will experience a partial lunar eclipse.

In Perth, stargazers can expect the sun, the Earth and the moon to imperfectly align, and the moon to pass within Earth’s outer shadow - called the penumbra.

Penumbral eclipses aren’t easily distinguishable from a usual full moon, as at the maximum phase of the eclipse the moon appears a shade darker.

According to Perth Observatory’s Matt Wood’s this is the final lunar eclipse for the year.

It will begin in Perth with the moon below the horizon at 2.02pm (AWST), but sandgropers will unfortunately miss the maximum partial phase at 5.02pm.

“The moon is expected will rise in Perth at 6.57pm and the eclipse will finish at 8.03pm, so we’ll only see the last 66 minutes of this one,” he said.

“An eclipse also never comes alone, with a solar eclipse always occurring about two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse. The next solar eclipse will be on December 4. It’ll be the last solar eclipse for 2021.”

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, which lists monthly full moon names from Native American, Colonial American and European folklore, Friday night’s moon - otherwise known as a “Beaver Moon” - refers to the time of the year in which beavers take shelter in their lodges to prepare for winter, and also the time in which beaver fur traps would be set up in North America, historically.

Alternative names for the full moon in November include the Whitefish Moon, an Algonquin term referring to the spawning of whitefish, and the Freezing Moon, a word from the Anishinaabe peoples referring to the winter season.

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