Saturday, November 20, 2021

Lunar Spectacle not seen since 1212 - November 19 2021


Long Lunar Eclipse starting over the Richmond Rangers, Richmond, Tasman.
Photo by Stevan Poldar.

Last night stargazers were able to see the longest partial eclipse visible from New Zealand since 1212

This incredibly rare lunar spectacle, had not been seen in the sky in more than 800 years.

The longest partial lunar eclipse visible in New Zealand since the year 1212 started at 8.20pm NZT, when the shadow of the Earth began to move across the moon’s face. It was 97% covered with shadow by 10pm. At that moment, the lunar surface briefly turned red. The near-total eclipse finished its three-and-a-half-hour journey just prior to midnight.

Most of the eclipse was dominated by the shadow of the earth moving across the moon, with a brief period where it appeared as a blood micro-moon in the night sky.”

There are two main reasons this is a rare event, the first being that it is a partial eclipse, but also because of where the moon is positioned in its orbit.

The moon is at apogee, which means it’s at the farthest point from Earth in its orbit. The moon’s orbit around the Earth is not a perfect circle, it’s an ellipse which means as it goes around, it comes a little bit closer and then, as it swings around, it goes a little bit further away.

The moon moves slower at this point, and this is why there was an unusually long partial-eclipse. 

The sky was clear last night, Friday 19 November 2021, for all to see, from Tasman and Nelson, the slow moving earths shadow crossed the moon. With binoculars it was exceptionally clear to see the blood micro-moon.

Pigeon Post News 2021


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