How and When to Watch the Longest Lunar Eclipse in 580 Years

By Jake Smith.

Some cosmic events are, well, once in a blue moon. Others, like the return of Halle’s Comet, are possible to catch maybe twice.

But this Friday’s near-total lunar eclipse — the longest of the century and the first of this length in 580 years — is truly once-in-a-lifetime (or, more accurately, many lifetimes).

On the morning of Friday, Nov. 19, the full Beaver Moon will take place in a 97%-total lunar eclipse, according to NASA, meaning that nearly all of the moon’s surface will be shrouded in the Earth’s shadow.

November 2021’s eclipse will be about three and a half hours long, stretching from 2:18 to 5:47 a.m. EST. The Beaver Moon eclipse will peak at 4:02 a.m. EST, NASA reports, and will be visible across North America.

This history-making, near-total lunar eclipse coincides with the full Beaver Moon, which will reach peak illumination at nearly the same moment as the eclipse’s height. But don’t worry — the moon will appear full from Thursday evening through Saturday morning, meaning you can catch an unencumbered glimpse of the full moon, too.