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A lunar eclipse like this hasn’t happened in 580 years, here’s how to watch

Published Nov 18th, 2021 7:11AM EST
The Hubble Space Telescope in front of the Moon.
Image: M. Kornmesser (ESA/Hubble), NASA, and ESA

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The longest partial lunar eclipse in almost 600 years will happen Thursday, and you can watch the entire thing for yourself. So many people across the internet are going wild with anticipation. And the great news is that everyone will be able to watch no matter where you are. We’ll tell you everything you need to know so you can be sure to watch all the action yourself.

The upcoming lunar eclipse will stretch from Thursday night into Friday morning. NASA’s catalog of lunar eclipses dated from 2001 to 2100 shows that this upcoming eclipse should last roughly three hours and 28 minutes. The longest total lunar eclipse we’ve seen in that timeframe came in July of 2017. That one lasted one hour and 42 minutes.

Watch the longest partial lunar eclipse this Thursday

map of visibility for the upcoming partial lunar eclipse
A map of the visibility for the upcoming partial lunar eclipse Image source: NASA

NASA says that most people in North America should be able to watch the lunar eclipse when it happens this Thursday. You can see what time it will happen locally by heading over to The site has set up a page that details when the partial lunar eclipse will kick off in different time zones, as well as when it will hit maximum coverage and more. For example, the penumbral begins at roughly 1 a.m. Thursday night/Friday morning.

If you aren’t in an area that’s set to get a great look at the eclipse, then you can always watch it via a live stream. The Virtual Telescope Project will stream the entire event starting at 07:00 UTC Friday morning. That’s at 2 a.m. Thursday night for folks on the eastern coast of the United States., as well as The Griffith Observatory, will host live streams, too.

How long will the eclipse last?

Breakdown of a partial lunar eclipse
Breakdown of the nearly total lunar eclipse happening November 18-19, 2021. Image source: NASA/Fred Espenak/Guiseppe Donatiello/Scott Sutherland

According to the Holcomb Observatory, the entire eclipse will last a total of six hours and one minute. That accounts for the start of the eclipse, as well as the end.

The three hours and 28 minutes that NASA cited is the actual time the Moon will be hidden, though. This is made up of the time when the Moon hits the penumbra and umbra. The penumbra is the outer part of the Earth’s shadow, while the umbra is the deepest and darkest part of the shadow. The maximum state of this lunar eclipse will hit when the Moon is in the Earth’s umbra.

NASA says that partial lunar eclipses are more common than full lunar eclipses. However, that doesn’t make this one any less special. This is set to be the longest partial lunar eclipse until 2100. Make sure you tune into a live stream or head outside Thursday night to witness this spectacular event.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.

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