US sees longest partial lunar eclipse in hundreds of years

Overnight across the U.S., skygazers were able to see the longest partial lunar eclipse since the 1440s.

Photo: NASA

Lunar eclipses events occur when the Earth moves between the sun and the moon casting a darkening shadow on it. In last night's case, the shadow reduced the moon's glow by 99% making it nearly a total lunar eclipse.

Eclipses run in cycles of 1,200 years, and the current cycle (1451 through 2650) includes 973 partial lunar eclipses. Of all of them, last night's was the longest at 6 hours and 2 minutes, wrapping up at 6:03 a.m. The peak occurred at 3:02 a.m.

The sight was even more impressive since the moon was a full "Beaver Moon," a name NASA suggests may harken back to the days when people would set beaver traps, or when beavers were especially busy getting ready for winter.

If you missed it, two total lunar eclipses will occur in May and November 2022. They just won't be as long-lasting.

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