Stargazers will be happy to know that November’s full moon is right around the corner.
Indeed, the full moon, known as the Beaver Moon, will reach peak illumination on Tuesday, November 8, at 6:02 a.m. Eastern, according to Space. The good news, however, is that the moon will appear full to the unaided eye overnight on Monday, November 7, and again on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
Here’s what you need to know about the Beaver Moon.
Why The Full Moon Gets An Unusual Name
The Old Farmer’s Almanac explains that the names it uses for moons come from numerous sources, including Native American and European sources.
The full moon in November is known as the “Beaver Moon” because this is the time of year when beavers finish preparing for winter and move into their lodges, according to the Old Farmers’ Almanac. When the fur trade flourished in North America, this was also the time of year to trap beavers because they had thick coats that were ready for winter’s cold temperatures.
It should be noted, however, that November’s full moon is known by other names to different peoples. For instance, the Dakota and Lakota term “Deer Rutting Moon” refers to the mating season for deer while the Algonquin called November’s full moon the “Whitefish Moon” because this is the time of year when those fish spawn, the Old Farmer’s Almanac explained.
Then again, November’s full moon was also called the “Frost Moon” by the Cree and Assiniboine peoples because it occurs just as winter approaches.
The Beaver Moon Will Also Be A Blood Moon
The full moon on November 8 offers a special treat for stargazers: It will also be a “blood moon” or a total lunar eclipse. If the skies are clear, the eclipse will be visible from North America, most of South America, parts of northern and eastern Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Here’s why lunar eclipses are called blood moons.
A total lunar eclipse, which happens about twice a year, occurs when the sun, Earth, and moon are aligned so the moon moves completely into the Earth’s shadow.
The moon normally appears white because the light we see is sunlight reflected off the moon’s gray, rocky surface. During an eclipse, however, as the moon moves into the center of Earth’s shadow — called the umbra — its appearance darkens.
Once the moon is entirely within the umbra, it appears reddish-orange because the only sunlight reaching the moon is from around the edges of Earth. Earth’s atmosphere blocks shorter wavelengths such as blue light, according to NASA.
Since only the longer wavelengths of red light can pass through Earth’s atmosphere, they give the moon its reddish-orange, or blood-like, appearance.
The eclipse will begin at 3:02:15 a.m. Eastern on November 8, according to Time and Date.
The good news for stargazers on the West Coast is that they will have better viewing of the eclipse because the moon will remain above the horizon all night. Those stargazers will be able to watch the eclipse begin at 12:02:15 a.m. Pacific and end at 5:56:09 a.m. The maximum eclipse — when the moon is entirely within Earth’s shadow — will occur at 2:59:11 a.m. Pacific.
You can learn more about November’s Blood Moon, including when and how to watch the eclipse, here.
For more about viewing the moon and stars, be sure to read all of our stargazing content, including: