The fourth and final lunar eclipse of 2020 will take place on November 30. The November lunar eclipse (Full Moon) is also called the Beaver Moon Eclipse in many parts of the world. Full Moons, particularly in Europe and America, have many names linked to the cultural and social landscape. In North America, the November Full Moon is called the Beaver Moon since the beaver trapping season would start around this time. The November full Moon is also called the Frosty Moon or the Oak Moon in some countries. Here are three things to know about this celestial event.

Watch: November 2020 in Science

1. What is a penumbral lunar eclipse

A lunar eclipse occurs whenever these three objects line up in space, with the Earth in the middle. This alignment can give rise to three types of eclipses:

3 Things To Know About The Last Lunar Eclipse of 2020 Taking Place This Week. 1
Image: The Nine Planets
  • Total lunar eclipse: This happens when the inner part of the Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon. At mid-eclipse, the entire moon is in shadow, which may appear blood red. A total lunar eclipse is a rare event that happens once every 2.5 years or so. About 35% of the eclipses are total eclipses.
  • Partial lunar eclipse: This happens when the shadow does not cover the entire lunar surface. Roughly 30% of the lunar eclipses are partial in nature.
  • Penumbral lunar eclipse: The third type of lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon are imperfectly aligned. In such an eclipse, the more diffuse, outer shadow of the Earth falls on Moon’s surface, as shown above. Unlike in the total and partial lunar eclipse, the entire lunar disk remains illuminated in a penumbral eclipse. They are difficult to watch. At best, very observant people will notice a dark shading on the moon’s face at mid-eclipse. Others will look and notice nothing at all. About 35% of the eclipses are penumbral lunar eclipses.

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2. Where is the last lunar eclipse of 2020 visible?

The eclipse will be visible at any location where the Moon is above the horizon at the time, including from Oceania, the Americas, Eastern and Southeast Asia, and Northern Europe. The map below shows where the eclipse of November 30 will be visible.

Lunar eclipse November 2020
Image: Dominic Ford, in-the-sky

3. What are the timings of the eclipse?

The eclipse will start at 07:33 UTC and end at 11:54 UTC. At 07:33 UTC, the Moon will begin to enter the Earth’s penumbra. The greatest eclipse time will be 09:44 UTC, and at 11:54 UTC, the Moon will leave the Earth’s penumbra. The full moon will be in the constellation of Taurus.

Get ready for a rare planetary alignment in December

While this would be the last lunar eclipse of 2020, we have a rare celestial event to watch in December: The Great Conjunction. Two of the largest planets in the solar system, Jupiter and Saturn, will appear extremely close to each other in the night sky. Don’t miss this rare planetary alignment that takes place every 20 years. Read more about this event in this article.

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