A blood moon, lunar eclipse, and fiery meteor shower will all grace the sky this week
Space cadets, get ready to enjoy some amazing sky gazing opportunities this week. You should be able observe them without a telescope.
Tuesday’s full moon lunar eclipse is the first. Stargazers in North America and Central America, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and Asia will be able to see the moon change to a reddish hue tomorrow morning. Stargazers in the west of the United States will have the best views.
NASA predicts that at 3: 02 a.m. EST, the moon will encounter Earth’s outer shadow in what’s called a penumbral eclipse. The partial eclipse phase will start at 4: 09 a.m. EST. This is when the darker (or umbra )) shadow is cast on a part of the moon while all the other lights are still visible. Then, from 5: 17 a.m to 6: 42 a.m. EST, the eclipse will reach totality. This is when the moon will truly live up to its blood moon title and take on a reddish tint.
If you prefer to sleep, especially after this weekend’s clock change, rather than watch the skies, you can still watch the event with NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio’s simulation of the eclipse and a livestream.
All full moons throughout the year are named after Native American and European traditions. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac ., this November’s full moon has been named a Beaver Moon. This is because it falls before winter, when beavers seek shelter. Other names for the full moon in November refer to the time when we prepare for the dark and cold winter months ahead. It’s also called the Digging or Scratching Moon, in reference to animals foraging for nuts and greens and while bears dig their dens.
This will be the last total lunar eclipse until March 14, 2025.
Next up, we have the southern and northern Taurids meteor shower. The southern Taurids peaked over the weekend on November 4 and 5, but the northern is estimated to peak this Friday and Saturday. The Taurids are found annually in October and November.
[Related: How to photograph a meteor shower. ]
Shooting star, or the product super-small debris and sand grains entering Earth’s atmosphere and burning up after passing by the Earth, is common. Because of the brightness of meteors, the Taurids are unique. It produces pebble-sized debris instead of the minuscule dust-sized debris created in other meteor showers, which create a bright streak of light when it hits the Earth’s atmosphere, according to NASA Meteor Watch. For the Taurids, the debris was likely left behind by comet Encke, whose last close approach to Earth was in 2015.
There is a chance that some very fast meteors known for their fireballs will be visible during this years shower because it is a potential Taurid Swarm Year. Meteor expert David Asher from Armagh Observatory and Planetarium discovered that Earth encounter swarms of larger particles shed by the comet Encke in certain years. 2022 is predicted to be one of those particularly stellar years. Encke also has the shortest orbital period known for a comet at only 3.3 year for one complete trip around Earth.
The same rules apply to this meteor shower and the lunar eclipse. You can also enjoy all other space-watching activities by going to a dark place away from any lights and letting your eyes adjust for half an hour. You don’t need a telescope or binoculars to view this meteor shower. All you need is your eyes and curiosity.