The moon becomes officially full at 4:30 a.m. EST (0930 GMT) according to NASA's SkyCal site. For New York City observers, the moon will set about two and a half hours later at 7:07 a.m., and rise that evening at 4:48 p.m. local time.
According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the November full phase is called the Full Beaver Moon, as it is when beavers usually went into their lodges for winter. This beaver moon will undergo a penumbral lunar eclipse, which is when the moon enters the outer part of the Earth's shadow, called the penumbra. Penumbral lunar eclipses are usually harder to notice than the more dramatic total lunar eclipse, because the moon only gets slightly darker (many people might call it a yellowish-brown tint, but the exact hue depends a lot on weather conditions and one's own color perception).
This lunar eclipse will be visible from all of North and South America, the Pacific, and in Asia from the northern half of Japan into Siberia. In Europe it will only be visible in the British Isles, Sweden, Norway and Finland.
The eclipse starts at 07:32 Universal Coordinated Time; this is based on the time zone for Greenwich, England. That means a London-based observer will see the eclipse start at 7:32 a.m., just before the moon sets at 7:37 a.m. (sunrise is not until 7:42 a.m.) In New York the moon touches the Earth's shadow at 2:32 a.m.; the moon will be about 49 degrees above the horizon and the shadow will touch the upper left of the moon's face. Maximum eclipse will be at 4:44 a.m. and the penumbral shadow will not completely cover the moon; from New York a section on the left will still be fully lit. The eclipse ends at 6:54 a.m. Eastern.
All lunar eclipses are visible from anywhere on the night side of the Earth; the difference will be how close to moonrise and moonset the eclipse begins and ends. One's latitude will determine how high in the sky the moon appears. For example, an observer in Chicago will see the eclipse begin an hour earlier than in New York at 1:32 a.m. local time and the moon will be at a similar altitude as in New York. Maximum eclipse will be at 3:42 a.m. and the eclipse ends at 5:53 a.m.
Meanwhile in Managua, which is in the same time zone, the moon will be 59 degrees above the horizon when the eclipse starts. The times for maximum eclipse and the eclipse end will be the same as in Chicago.
Getting into the Southern Hemisphere, the moon will appear closer to the horizon, as November is the austral spring and the plane of the moon's orbit appears lower in the sky at night. From Santiago, Chile, the eclipse begins at 4:32 a.m. when the moon is about 20 degrees above the western horizon; maximum eclipse occurs at 6:42 a.m. local time, but the moon will have already set by then — moonset is at 6:33 a.m.
The eclipse occurs only two days after the moon reaches apogee, where it is at the furthest point in its orbit from the Earth. The moon is at an average distance of 238,000 miles (382,500 kilometers), but on November 26 it will be 252,208 miles (405,890 km) away at 7:29 p.m. Eastern Time. When apogee coincides with a full moon — this almost does, though no quite — it's called a "minimoon," as it appears ever-so-slightly smaller to the eye than it usually does. (It takes a keen-eyed and patient observer to spot the difference, though).
The moon will be in the constellation Taurus, the bull, which contains enough bright stars that even a full moon can't wash them out completely (a challenge will be to spot the brightest star in Taurus, Aldebaran, which will be close enough that the lunar glare will be a factor). Just south and east of the moon will be Orion, and north of it will be Auriga, the Charioteer. Due east will be Gemini, the twins.
As the penumbral eclipse starts in New York, Mars will be setting, the planet being just a degree and a half above the western horizon; it will be visible earlier in the evening, as it crosses the meridian, the midpoint of the sky, at 8:16 p.m. local time according to Heavens-above.com calculations.
Jupiter and Saturn, form a close pair and set at 7:50 p.m. and 8:02 p.m., respectively, on Nov. 29., so they will both have exited the stage by the time the lunar eclipse occurs. On the night of Nov. 30 the two planets set about three minutes earlier, at 7:47 p.m. and 7:50 p.m. Because in mid-northern latitudes the sun sets relatively early — for New Yorkers the sun sets at 4:29 p.m. on Nov. 30 — the two giant planets will be easy to see in the evenings, low in the southwestern sky.
See the planets: Here's what's up in November's night sky
Venus, meanwhile, will still be a "morning star" in the constellation Libra, rising at 4:40 a.m. local time in New York on Nov. 30. Sunrise is not until 7 a.m. local time, and the planet will be at 23 degrees altitude by then.
Venus is bright enough that it remains visible even as the sky becomes lighter, and a fun challenge is to see how long you can still spot it as sunrise approaches. Mercury, meanwhile, rises at 6:08 a.m. local time on Nov. 30 and will be about 9 degrees above the eastern horizon when the sun rises. It's harder to see than Venus, but with some patience and a flat horizon free of obstructions one can catch it.
The November full moon has many names that reflect the environments and lives of local cultures. This lunation will be the twelfth of the year, and one of the names given by the Ojibwe people is Mnidoons Giizisoonhg or "Little Spirit Moon."
The Cree people called it " Thithikopiwipisim" (Hoar Frost Moon) — understandable, since late November is when freezing temperatures in their traditional territory become more common. In the Pacific Northwest, the Tlingit called the twelfth full moon "Shanáx Dís" (Unborn Seals are Getting Hair), according to the "Tlingit Moon and Tide Teaching Resource" published by the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
In China, the 12th lunation is called Làyuè, "Preserved Month" as that is when people traditionally started preserving foods for the Spring Festival holidays. 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.
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