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November full moon 2021: A Beaver Moon lunar eclipse and bright planets

November's full "Beaver Moon" will occur on Nov. 19 and will undergo a partial lunar eclipse, visible from eastern Asia, Australia, the Pacific Ocean, much of North America, South America and northwestern Europe. 

The full moon officially occurs  at 3:58 a.m. EST (0858 GMT), according to Astropixels.com (opens in new tab). For New York City observers, the moon will set about three hours later at 6:58 a.m. local time, per Time andDate (opens in new tab).  

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.

Beaver Moon partial lunar eclipse

This chart shows the stages of the partial lunar eclipse on Nov. 19, 2021. (Image credit: Sky & Telescope)

The partial lunar eclipse will start at 1:02 a.m. EST (0602 GMT), which is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, eight hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time, and 11 hours behind Australian Eastern Daylight Time (Melbourne). Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are visible from Earth's entire nightside — though not every location will see the entire eclipse. 

For example, the penumbral phase, when the moon darkens a bit but hasn't entered the Earth's main shadow, starts when the moon is still below the horizon in Melbourne or Tokyo, which are at the western end of the nightside of the Earth. Meanwhile in London or Oslo the partial phase of the eclipse, when the Moon gets dark (and turns the characteristic red color) doesn't really get underway until after the moon sets — those two cities are at the eastern end of the Earth's nightside. 

For New York City observers, the moon enters the Earth's penumbra Nov. 19 at 1:02 a.m. local time, and the moon will be relatively high in the sky, at an altitude of about 60 degrees roughly southwest. At 2:18 a.m. local time the top of the moon will start to darken as the umbra, the central part of the Earth's shadow, touches the moon. This is the beginning of the partial phase of the eclipse. Maximum eclipse will be at 4:03 a.m. — a sliver of the moon will still be lit, but the rest will be the classic red "Blood Moon" hue. The partial phase ends at 5:47 a.m. in New York, and the moon sets at 6:58 a.m., just a few minutes before the penumbral phase ends. 

This map shows the visibility of the partial lunar eclipse on Nov. 18-19, 2021. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The magnitude of the eclipse, which describes the percentage of the moon's diameter the umbra covers, is 0.974, which is why the eclipse is counted as partial rather than total, even though it will still resemble a total lunar eclipse. 

If you live further west, the eclipse will begin earlier — in Dallas, the eclipse starts at 12:02 a.m, Central Standard Time and the moon will be 75 degrees above the horizon – high enough where one can lie down on a picnic blanket and get a good view. The partial phase starts at 1:18 a.m. local time, and ends at 4:47 a.m. Maximum eclipse is at 3:02 a.m. 

Skywatchers on the west coast of the U.S. — for example in Los Angeles — will see the eclipse start on Nov. 18 at 10:02 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, and the partial phase begins at 11:18 p.m. Maximum eclipse is at 1:02 a.m. Nov. 19 and the partial phase ends at 2:47 a.m. 

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.

If an astronaut were standing on the moon during a lunar eclipse, they'd see the Earth pass in front of the sun — solar eclipse. They'd also see the Earth's atmosphere scatter and refract the light from the sun, so the Earth would appear to be surrounded by a reddish glow on the edge of its disk. Since the blue wavelengths coming from the sun are scattered by our atmosphere, the light that reaches the moon is reddish — and we see that effect when the moon is almost totally obscured by Earth's shadow and turns red. 

Beaver Full Moon and visible planets

As the penumbral eclipse starts in New York the naked-eye planets will all be below the horizon. However, on the evening of Nov 18, the sun sets at 4:35 p.m. (opens in new tab), and an hour later one will see Venus, Saturn and Jupiter making a rough line from west to East. 

By about 5:30 p.m.,  Venus will be the lowest of the three in the sky, about 13 degrees above the southwestern horizon, while Saturn will be at 29 degrees to the left of and above Venus; it will be in the south-southwest. Jupiter will be about 34 degrees high and nearly due south, according to heavens-above.com (opens in new tab) calculations. 

Mercury, meanwhile, will be a "morning star" in the constellation Libra, rising at 6:22 a.m. EST in New York on Nov. 19. Sunrise is not until 6:47 a.m., but catching the innermost planet will be a real challenge as it will be only a 4 degrees above the east-southeastern horizon at sunrise. 

Mars, meanwhile, will be about 11 degrees above the southeastern horizon in New York by sunrise on Nov. 19. It will also be difficult to see because of the sun's glare; better views will be had in the coming months. . 

Beaver Moon and the Leonid meteor shower

The location of Leonid meteor shower radiant on Nov. 18, 2021. (Image credit: Starry Night)

While the full or nearly full moon usually creates problems for meteor watching, since it is so bright it tends to wash out fainter, fleeting objects like meteors. The eclipse, though, will dim the moon for a couple of hours. 

The Leonid meteor shower is  an annual shower that peaks around the third week of November, but is active from Nov. 3 all the way to Dec. 2. The shower can produce spectacular storms — it did so in 1999 and 1966. This year one can expect about 15 meteors per hour. That rate assumes the radiant, which is in the constellation Leo, is at the zenith and a clear, moonless sky. 

Beaver Moon and other November moon names

Full moon names reflect local cultures. This lunation will be the 11th of the year; 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, freezing temperatures begin in earnest in October and November, when the 11th lunatiuon of the year can occur. 

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 (opens in new tab)" published by the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

In China, the full moon will be the 10th lunation, is called Yángyuè, or "Yang Month" as that is when the Taoist "yang" or masculine force is ascendant. In the Chinese calendar the lunation is marked as the 10th because the calendar is lunisolar rather than strictly lunar. 

The KhoiKhoi people in South Africa called the November full moon the Milk Moon, according to the Center for Astronomical Heritage (opens in new tab), an organization that works to preserve local astronomical traditions. 

Editor's note: If you snap a great photo of the Beaver Moon lunar eclipse or any other night sky sight you'd like to share with Space.com and our news partners for a story or image gallery, send images and comments to spacephotos@space.com.

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Jesse Emspak
Jesse Emspak

Jesse Emspak is a freelance journalist who has contributed to several publications, including Space.com, Scientific American, New Scientist, Smithsonian.com and Undark. He focuses on physics and cool technologies but has been known to write about the odder stories of human health and science as it relates to culture. Jesse has a Master of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley School of Journalism, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Rochester. Jesse spent years covering finance and cut his teeth at local newspapers, working local politics and police beats. Jesse likes to stay active and holds a fourth degree black belt in Karate, which just means he now knows how much he has to learn and the importance of good teaching.

  • rod
    Good report and video :) I am observing and tracking asteroid 4 Vesta for some days this week near 6.5 apparent magnitude. Last night easy to see near border of Taurus/Cetus moving westward (retrograde) into Cetus. Binoculars show and my telescope views. The waxing gibbous Moon is getting brighter, 4 Vesta reaches opposition on the 12th, Full Moon period too. So far, I am still able to see 4 Vesta asteroid with brightening moon light nights. Viewing a Full Moon is not fun (as the report suggest) with telescopes - best viewed during other phases and with a good moon filter too. I especially enjoy viewing the Moon near First Quarter and Last Quarter phases. Very good terminator line relief and crater details.
    Reply