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Science

Utah Skies: November Penumbral Eclipse

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Mark your calendar for the evening of November 30th. On that evening you will see the November full moon called the Beaver moon or the Frost moon. You can find the moon located in the constellations of Taurus the Bull and Aries the Ram.
As the moon orbits the earth on the evening of November 30th it will pass through the Earth’s shadow in what is known as a penumbral eclipse that will be seen throughout North America.

First contact will be at 12:32 am, maximum eclipse will take place at 2:42 am when the earth’s shadow will cover 83% of the moon’s nearside. The eclipse will end at 4:53 am.

The Earth’s shadow consists of a darker portion called the umbra and a fainter outer portion called the penumbra.

A lunar eclipse only takes place during a full moon when the moon passes through the Earth’s Umbra but usually the moon passes either above or below the umbra into the penumbra. On November 30th the moon will pass just south of the darker umbra.

This eclipse will be a very faint. Some will think there is no eclipse. You will have to look hard to see a faint earth’s shadow on the moon’s surface.

As an added treat the moon will be just to the upper right of the Hyades open star cluster. From the Earth this famous cluster appears in the shape of a V with the star Aldebaran to the left of the moon while another famous star cluster known as the Pleiades or Seven Sisters is located to the lower right of the moon.