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Partial lunar eclipse will be the longest since the reign of Henry VI –



Skygazers are in for a treat overnight between Thursday and Friday, when much of the planet will be able to see the longest partial lunar eclipse in almost 600 years.

The only hitch is that for much of Canada, the peak of the eclipse will take place in the middle of the night.

But if the weather co-operates, it might be worth braving the cold night air for a glimpse of the longest partial lunar eclipse since 1440, when Henry VI was the King of England and the Inca Empire was expanding.

Jan Cami, director of the Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory at Western University in London, Ont., said the event will last a total of 208.4 minutes, which is quite long for a partial eclipse. He said the partial eclipse on Feb. 18, 1440 lasted 208.8 minutes.

As the moon passes through the Earth’s shadow, it will take on a reddish, coppery hue, cast by the sunlight refracting through our atmosphere.

When to watch? 

The moon will start to noticeably dim just after 2 a.m. ET on Friday, as it begins to slip into the Earth’s shadow, or umbra.

According to NASA, the peak will occur at about 4 a.m. ET. At its height, it will be very close to a total eclipse — 97 per cent of the moon will be covered by the Earth’s shadow, leaving only a sliver exposed on the left side. By 5:47 a.m. ET, the moon will emerge again.

The peak viewing times across Canada include:

  • St. John’s: 5:30 a.m. 

  • Halifax: 5 a.m.

  • Ottawa: 4 a.m.

  • Winnipeg: 3 a.m.

  • Calgary: 2 a.m.

  • Vancouver: 1 a.m. 

A world map shows where the eclipse will be visible at the time of greatest eclipse. Earlier parts of the eclipse are visible farther east, while later times are visible farther west. All of North America, as well as large parts of South America, Polynesia, eastern Australia and northeastern Asia, will be able to see the event, weather permitting. (NASA)

According to Cami, the next time a partial eclipse will last this long will be in 2669.

He explained that the reason this partial eclipse lasts so long is because it’s very close to a total eclipse.

A total eclipse has two partial phases — one before the total phase and one after the total phase. The only time that there is an exceptionally long partial eclipse is when it is near-total.

How to watch

There’s no need for special equipment to watch the eclipse, but if you want to boost your viewing experience, try using a telephoto lens on a camera, binoculars or a telescope.

“With telescopes, seeing how the shadow creeps over the moon’s surface is quite fascinating,” Cami said.

If it’s cloudy, you can also opt to watch the eclipse live online at the Virtual Telescope Project.

WATCH | Animation of a total lunar eclipse: 

Animation of a total lunar eclipse

16 hours ago

This video produced by NASA shows how a lunar eclipse works, as the moon orbits the Earth and enters its shadow. 0:41

Unlike a solar eclipse, when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, a lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth is between the sun and the moon.

Cami said many people aren’t aware that there is actually a connection between the two types of eclipses: A solar eclipse always precedes or follows a lunar eclipse by two weeks.

“You always have a full moon and a new moon during an eclipse season, and in the full moon you will have a lunar eclipse, and during the new moon you will have a solar eclipse,” he said.

But the upcoming solar eclipse on Dec. 4 will be visible only in Antarctica.

November’s full moon is sometimes called the Beaver Moon, a reference to the time when beavers finalize winter preparations and take shelter in their lodges for the season, according to the Almanac.

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Chinese rover investigates 'cube' on far side of the moon – CBC News



A photograph of a cube-like object captured by a Chinese rover on the far side of the moon has fanned speculation over what it could be.

The Yutu-2 caught an image of what seems like a large cubic object on the horizon about 80 metres from its location, said Our Space, a Chinese government science website, citing the rover’s last log on Dec. 3.

The solar-powered Yutu, or “Jade Rabbit” in Chinese, will cover the distance of 80 metres in two to three lunar days, according to Our Space, or two to three Earth months. The robotic rover has been operating in the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin since its deployment in January 2019.

The mission was a historic first, with no other nation having landed on the far side of the moon until then. With the moon tidally locked to Earth — rotating at the same speed as it orbits our planet — most of its “dark side” is never visible to those on Earth.

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Comet Leonard will be visible this December before vanishing forever – CTV News



There is a new comet in town, and December is your only chance to see it before disappears forever. Astronomers say that Comet Leonard is our best and brightest comet to see in 2021.

The comet was first discovered in January by astronomer Greg Leonard. The celestial object has likely spent the last 35,000 years traveling toward the sun, according to Sky & Telescope, and once it makes a close pass of our star on January 3, we won’t be seeing the comet again.

As the comet nears the sun, it brightens, which is why the weeks leading up to this event make the comet easier to see.

It’s also an ultrafast comet, blazing through the inner solar system at 158,084 miles per hour (71 kilometres per second), but it will still appear like a slow-moving object due to its distance from Earth, according to EarthSky.

Comet Leonard will make it closest approach to Earth on December 12, coming within 21 million miles (34 million kilometres) of our planet. Then, it will sweep by Venus on December 18.

The comet will be visible in the skies of both the Northern and Southern hemispheres this month.

It’s difficult to predict how well we may be able to see a comet, but you”ll probably need binoculars to spot this one, according to NASA. Keep an eye out for an object that looks like a fuzzy star.

“In the first couple of weeks of December, Comet Leonard can be found in the east before sunrise, passing between Arcturus and the handle of the Big Dipper,” the agency shared in a post.

“It approaches the horizon right around the time of its closest approach to Earth, meaning it’ll likely be brighter but more challenging to observe. It then switches over to being an evening object after around Dec. 14th, for just a little while after the Sun sets — as it begins its long haul outward from the Sun again, progressively fading in brightness.”

As comets near the sun, these giant iceballs begin to shed some of their material, which forms a halo, or coma, around the object.

Dust and gas stream behind comets to form their extremely long tails. Most comets originate from the icy edge of our solar system and only become visible to us as they travel through the inner solar system, where Earth is located, during their long orbits of the sun.

It’s possible that Comet Leonard will be visible to skywatchers looking with the naked eye, but if you’re worried about missing this once-in-a-lifetime viewing experience, The Virtual Telescope Project will be sharing a livestream from its observatory in Rome.

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Hubble Captures Stunning Image of Colliding Gases in 'Running Man' Nebula – Gadgets 360



Hubble Space Telescope has often captured stunning images of mysterious events in space. It has allowed astronomers to widen their research and uncover new details. Recently, the telescope was trying to understand how young stars influenced their environment and it witnessed a shock wave of colliding luminous gases in the ‘Running Man’ Nebula. The image of the Herbig-Haro object, known as HH 45, showed clouds of gas and dust glow. Herbig-Haro is a type of nebula that forms when gas from a newborn star collides with dust around it at huge speeds and produces shock waves.

Herbig-Haro objects are rarely seen. This object is located in the nebula NGC 1977, also called the Running Man Nebula, which is a complex structure of three nebulae in the Great Orion Nebula, about  5,000 light-years from the Earth.

The Running Man Nebula is a reflection nebula, meaning it does not emit light on its own but reflects light from nearby stars “like a streetlight illuminating fog,” according to NASA. Hubble was looking at this region for “stellar jets and planet-forming disks around young stars.” It was trying to examine how their environment affects the evolution of such disks.

The Hubble image showed two sets of ionised gases glowing in blue and purple colours. While blue indicated ionised oxygen, purple represented ionised magnesium. “Researchers were particularly interested in these elements because they could be used to identify shocks and ionisation fronts,” the NASA statement read.

This image was not a bad capture for an observatory that was waking up after a technical problem and went into “safe mode” in October. Hubble, a joint project by NASA and ESA, was last serviced in person in 2009 and has not been visited by astronauts since 2011.

NASA is set to launch the more powerful James Webb telescope in December as a “successor” to the Hubble Space Telescope. Citing the differences between the both, NASA has stated that their capabilities weren’t identical. One of the differences NASA pointed out was that while James Webb telescope will study the universe largely in infrared, Hubble had been focusing on optical and ultraviolet wavelengths.

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