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For the third November in a row, Earth, Moon, and Sun will achieve syzygy — a perfect alignment. The Moon will pass through Earth’s shadow, creating a total lunar eclipse. All or most of the eclipse will be visible from the entire United States.
“Syzygy” comes from a Greek word that means a union — like when two horses or oxen are yoked side by side. And several times each year, Earth, Moon, and Sun are locked in a precise alignment — a “union” that results in either a lunar or solar eclipse.
This eclipse gets underway shortly after 3 a.m. Central Time. That’s when the edge of the Moon begins to enter Earth’s dark inner shadow, known as the umbra. That begins a partial eclipse, with the Moon partially in the shadow and partially bathed in sunlight.
The Moon will be fully immersed in the shadow — beginning the total eclipse — a little more than an hour later. Totality will last for almost an hour and a half. After that, the eclipse will become partial again as the Moon begins to leave the shadow behind. It ends a few minutes before 7.
Skywatchers west of a line from the southern tip of Texas to the western tip of Lake Superior — including all of Alaska and Hawaii — will see the entire total eclipse and most of the partial. Most of those to the east of that line will see all of the total eclipse, but the Moon will set during the partial phase — the end of a perfect alignment.
Script by Damond Benningfield