November's full "Beaver Moon" will occur on Nov. 8 and will undergo a total lunar eclipse. The total phase will be visible on almost the entire night side of Earth, from the eastern half of Russia and Kazakhstan China and eastern India to North America and the western half of South America.
The moon becomes officially full at 6:02 a.m. EST (1002 GMT), according to the U.S. Naval Observatory. For New York City observers, the moon will set about a half hour later at 6:42 a.m., per timeanddate.com and rise that evening at 4:52 a.m. (0852 GMT).
Eclipses happen because sometimes the full moon, which occurs when the moon is on exactly the opposite side of the Earth from the sun, enters the Earth's shadow. Most of the time this doesn't occur because the moon's orbit is slightly inclined to the plane of Earth's orbit, so the moon "misses" the shadow. Lunar eclipses often accompany solar eclipses, and this one is no exception – there was a partial solar eclipse in October, at the new moon.
Related: Beaver Blood Moon lunar eclipse 2022: Everything you need to know
Beaver Moon total lunar eclipse
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For sky watchers on the east coast of the U.S. and Canada, the penumbral phase of the eclipse starts at 3:02 a.m. EST (0702 GMT) on Nov. 8, 2022. The penumbra is the lighter part of the Earth's shadow; it's often difficult to see when it covers the moon because it just makes the moon look a bit yellow or brownish, depending on the weather and one's color perception. At 4:09 a.m. EST (0808 GMT) the umbra, the darker shadow of the Earth, will make contact with the moon and the partial phase of the eclipse begins; this is the point where one can see the Earth's shadow take a "bite" out of the moon.
At 5:16 a.m. EST (0916 GMT) the moon will be fully within the Earth's umbra, and observers will see the "blood moon" effect. This happens because the Earth's atmosphere bends the light of the sun like a lens, and also scatters blue wavelengths more than red ones. It's a similar mechanism to that which makes the sunsets appear red on Earth and sometimes makes the sun look flatter as it approaches the horizon. If an astronaut were standing on the moon, they would see the Earth eclipse the sun and be surrounded by a ring of red light.
The moon will be closest to the center of the umbra at about 5:59 a.m. EST (0959 GMT) and will touch the edge of the umbra at 6:41 a.m. (1041 GMT), just as it sets, so East Coast sky watchers won't see the latter part of the eclipse. As one moves west, though, the eclipse starts earlier – in Chicago and other Central Time Zone cities it begins at 2:02 a.m. and the partial phase starts at 3:09 a.m. The moon will start to emerge from the umbra at 5:41 a.m. By moonset (which is at 6:40 a.m. in Chicago) the moon will be almost out of the umbra.
To see the entire umbral phase of the eclipse one has to be a bit further west and south. In Texas, for example, the eclipse also starts at 2:02 a.m. and the partial phase ends at 6:49 a.m. Because the city is further south (even though it is still in the Central Time Zone) the moon sets a bit later than in Chicago, at 6:59 a.m. local time, so observers there will get to see it before the moon gets below the horizon.
Observers in Phoenix will get to see the entire eclipse, which starts at 1:02 a.m. and ends at 6:56 a.m. – just a few minutes before moonset at 7:04 a.m. Further west than that, and the entire eclipse will be visible (and an hour earlier in the Pacific Time Zone).
In the Pacific, the eclipse will start before midnight on Nov. 7 – Hawaiians, for example, will see it begin at 10:02 p.m. local time on Nov. 7 and end at 3:56 a.m. The moon will also be well away from the horizon – at maximum eclipse, which occurs at 12:59 a.m. on Nov. 8, the moon will be 78 degrees high in the south.
Beaver Full Moon and visible planets
As the penumbral eclipse starts in New York the only planet still above the horizon will be Mars, which will be east of the moon (to the left) and form a rough triangle with Betelgeuse in Orion and Aldebaran in Taurus. Betelgeuse and Aldebaran are, like Mars, reddish, with Betelgeuse being more so, and so the (temporary) configuration will be quite distinct.
For those who have a small telescope or binoculars, the moon will also occult Uranus as it is eclipsed – but the phenomenon is only visible from northern North America and northeastern Asia. From Tokyo, for example, Uranus will pass behind the moon at 8:40 p.m. local time, and reappear from behind it at 9:25 p.m., according to In-the-sky.org. The occultation will start just before the total phase of the lunar eclipse ends at 8:41 p.m. local time, so people in Japan will see the planet disappear behind a blood moon and emerge from a partially-eclipsed one. In Anchorage, Alaska, the occultation will start at 3:39 a.m. local time, about 10 minutes before the end of the partial phase of the lunar eclipse. Uranus emerges from behind the moon at 5:14 a.m. local time.
The moon rises again on Nov. 8 at 4:52 p.m., and at that point in New York City the sun sets at 4:44 p.m. About an hour later when the sky is fully dark, one will see Saturn and Jupiter in the south, with Jupiter towards the southeast. Saturn sets at 11:09 p.m. local time and Jupiter at 2:34 a.m. on Nov. 9. If one has a clear horizon to the south, one will see Fomalhaut, the brightest star in Piscis Austrinus, the Southern Fish, almost midway between the two giant planets and a bit below them. Fomalhaut is relatively close to Earth at 25 light-years, and was the first star around which an exoplanet was spotted in visible wavelengths.
Beaver Moon and other November moon names
While Americans (specifically those in the U.S. and Canada) call the November full moon the Beaver Moon, other cultures see it differently. The Ojibwe people call it Mshkawji Giizis, or "Freezing Moon." Similarly, the Cree people called it "Kaskatinowipisim" or "Freeze up Moon." Both the Cree and Ojibwe nations' traditional territories are in the Great Lakes region, where, traditionally, October and November was when freezing temperatures would begin, especially at night.
In the Pacific Northwest, the Tlingit called the 11th full moon Cha'aaw Kungáay, which means "bears hibernate," according to the "Tlingit Moon and Tide Teaching Resource" published by the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
The traditional Chinese calendar is lunisolar – based on both lunar and solar cycles – and the November full moon occurs in the 10th month rather than the 11th because the Chinese new year happens in February. The November lunar month is called Yángyuè, or "Yang Month" as that is when the Taoist "yang" or masculine force is stronger.
The KhoiKhoi people in South Africa called the November full moon the Milk Moon, according to the Center for Astronomical Heritage, an organization that works to preserve local astronomical traditions.
If you hope to snap a photo of the eclipse, our guide on how to photograph a lunar eclipse, as well as how to photograph the moon with a camera in general, can help you make the most of the event. If you need imaging equipment, our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography have recommendations to make sure you're ready for the next eclipse.
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