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2021, November 19:  Morning Lunar Eclipse

Animation showing a total lunar eclipse. Credit: NASA Goddard Media Studios


November 19, 2021:  A morning lunar eclipse is visible from across most of North America.  The moon is almost completely immersed in Earth’s shadow at 3:02 a.m. CST.

Lunar Eclipse (NASA Photo)


By Jeffrey L. Hunt

The moon slips into Earth’s shadow on the morning of November 19, in front of the stars of Taurus.

The nearly-total lunar eclipse is visible across all of North America and the Pacific Ocean. Observers in South America, see the moon entering the maximum phase as it sets.  Western Asia and Australia sees the latter stages of the eclipse after moonrise.

Unlike a solar eclipse when the moon’s shadow races across a narrow ribbon of the terrestrial landscape, a lunar eclipse is visible from anywhere the moon is in the sky.

The moon moves from west to east through Earth’s shadow.  The moon’s light diminishes and at the total phase, the moon may have an orange glow.  Red and orange sunlight passes through Earth’s atmosphere and gently illuminates the lunarscape.

At the maximum eclipse, a thin sliver of the moon is still illuminated, but the stars in the moon’s region are clearly visible, such as the Pleiades star cluster, Hyades star cluster, and Aldebaran.

In Chicago, the eclipse begins as the calendar turns to November 19.  The full moon is over two-thirds of the way up in the south-southwest.  The moon enters Earth’s penumbra, the outer portion of the shadow. 

Not much darkening is noticeable until 1:18 a.m. CST, when the lunar orb enters the darker umbra shadow.  As the moon progresses eastward through the shadow, more of it darkens from Earth blocking the sun’s light. The moon is nearly two-thirds of the way up in the southwestern sky.

The moon moves deeper into the shadow and maximum eclipse occurs at 3:02 a.m. CST, when the moon is 40° up in the west.  A thin sliver of the moon is still in sunlight, but the sky is dark enough to see the stars in its vicinity.

The moon continues to move eastward and back into sunlight.  The partial eclipse ends at 4:47 a.m., when the moon is about 20° up in the west.

Morning twilight begins in Chicago at 5:08 a.m. CST, while the eclipse is in its penumbral phases.

The eclipse ends at 6:05 a.m. CST.  The moon is only about 8° up in the west.

The next lunar eclipse visible from North America occurs during the night of May 15/16, 2022.  In the eastern regions of the continent, the eclipse begins during evening twilight.  From 10:28 p.m. CDT to 11:54 p.m. CDT, the moon is fully immersed in Earth’s shadow.  The 86 minutes of totality provides a large viewing from sky watchers across the western hemisphere to view the eclipse.


2021, October 29:  Venus, Greatest Elongation

October 29, 2021:  Venus reaches its greatest elongation from the sun.  It is in the evening sky with Jupiter and Saturn.  The crescent moon and Mercury are in the eastern sky before sunrise.

2021, October 29 – November 1, Lion Moon

October 29 – November 1, 2021:  The crescent moon moves in front of the stars of Leo in the eastern sky before sunrise.  Watch the moon appear lower and the phase shrink (wane) each morning. Also note that there is no Full moon on Halloween this year!

2021, October 25:  Caught Between the Horns

October 25, 2021: This morning the bright gibbous moon seems to be caught between the horns of Taurus.  Mercury is making its best morning appearance.  The planet pack – Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are in the evening sky.

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