CENTRAL NEW YORK (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Early Friday morning (November 19th, 2021), CNY will see the longest partial lunar eclipse in centuries. The partial eclipse is set to start at 2:18 am Friday morning and end at 5:47 am, lasting a whopping 3 hours, 28 minutes, and 23 seconds. That doesn’t even count the penumbral eclipse, which is part of the total eclipse.
With that included, the total eclipse comes to a duration of 6 hours and 2 minutes! It’s maximum will occur at 4:02 am, when over 97% of the moon will be covered by the Earth’s shadow, making it nearly total.
Why is this the longest eclipse in centuries?
It has to do with the moon’s orbit around the Earth. The moon’s apparent size, as seen from Earth, changes significantly as it orbits around us. This is because the moon’s orbit is elliptical, not circular. It can move slower or faster, depending on how far (or close) it is from Earth.
It’s farthest point from Earth is known as apogee and during this phase, the moon moves a little slower. It’s closest point to Earth is known as perigee and during this phase, the moon moves a little faster. This eclipse is taking place during apogee, so the moon will be farther away and will be moving slower, allowing for the eclipse to last longer.
Unfortunately, it looks like we’ll be seeing mostly cloudy skies because of a lake effect band bringing rain and snow showers Thursday night. So weather-wise, we’ll have poor viewing conditions.