The moon is at it again, folks. Both a full moon and a partial lunar eclipse will take place early on Friday, Nov. 19, marking the first of two winter 2021 eclipses. (The other is a total solar eclipse on Dec. 4.) Despite technically being a partial lunar eclipse (even though more than 90 percent of the moon will be covered by Earth), the "almost total" Nov. 19 lunar eclipse is particularly special in that, according to NASA, it will be the longest partial lunar eclipse of the century. While the average lunar eclipse tends to last for about an hour, give or take, the Nov. 19 lunar eclipse will last for about three hours and 28 minutes. Get your caffeine ready, though, because depending on your time zone, you might be staying up pretty late.
Aside from being the longest partial lunar eclipse we'll see between 2001 and 2100, the Nov. 19 lunar eclipse is also reportedly the longest partial lunar eclipse that's occurred over the past 580 years, according to Holcomb Observatory. This is because the moon is farther away from Earth, making Earth's shadow larger and requiring more time to pass through it. Just like with any other lunar eclipse, you'll notice the moon turn a rusty shade of red (aka a "blood moon") during the Nov. 19 lunar eclipse and full moon, as Earth blocks the sun's illumination of the moon. You might also hear this November full moon referred to as a "frost moon" or a "beaver moon," the name early Native American tribes gave this full moon in relation to the time when beavers can be seen preparing their shelters for the winter season.
Clearly, this lunar event isn't one to be missed, unless you have time to wait a whole century for the next one. Here's exactly when and how to watch the lunar eclipse and full moon on Nov. 19 in all their glory.
What Time Is the Nov. 19 Lunar Eclipse and Full Moon?
The best time to observe any lunar eclipse is at its peak, or when the moon has shifted as far into Earth's umbra, or shadow, as it'll go. The exact time the Nov. 19 lunar eclipse reaches its peak is, of course, relative to your time zone, but for most people, it'll be a late night or a super-early morning. This lunar eclipse will peak at 9:03 UTC, which translates to 1:03 a.m. PT and 4:03 a.m. PT. That said, you can see the beginnings of the lunar eclipse about three hours before its peak time, and you can watch it fade for another few hours after.
How to Watch the Nov. 19 Lunar Eclipse
The easiest way to see the Nov. 19 lunar eclipse? Look up. NASA reported the lunar event will be visible across all of North America and in some parts of South America, eastern Australia, Polynesia, and northeastern Asia. Sadly, other areas of the world may not be able to view the moon during its eclipse period. If you are in one of the prime viewing areas, assuming your view isn't blocked by buildings or other structures, you should notice the full moon shining brightly on the night of Nov. 18, leading into the entirety of the lunar eclipse in the early morning hours of Nov. 19. Set your alarms, and get ready for the longest (partial) lunar show of the century.