COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Something will happen on Tuesday, Nov. 8, that has never happened before. According to EarthSky.org, this will be the first total lunar eclipse on Election Day in U.S. history (since 1776).
The last lunar eclipse on Election Day occurred in 1846, when a penumbral eclipse “grazed the lighter part of the Earth’s shadow,” according to Don Stevens, astrophysicist and observatory directory at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio.
A total lunar eclipse will be visible a few hours before daybreak low in the western sky, weather permitting. The celestial event occurs when Earth is between the Sun and Moon, blocking out sunlight from reaching the lunar surface, which is instead covered by Earth’s shadow.
The moon will take on a coppery glow when only a tiny slice of the lunar surface is visible. Just enough sunlight is bent (refracted) passing through the edges of Earth’s atmosphere, creating the familiar “blood moon.” At this point in time, we see the light of all the sunrises and sunsets around the world.
At totality, the full Beaver Moon will be about 20 degrees above the western horizon (5:16 a.m.), before setting (6:40 a.m.) just before totality is over. Morning twilight (and cloud cover, if any) will diminish any view of the moon closer to sunrise, which occurs at 7:09 a.m.
“The partial phases begin at about 4:09 a.m. for the Columbus area,” said Stevens. “The Moon will be about 30 degrees above the western horizon when the dark part of the Earth’s shadow — the umbra — begins to mask its surface.”
The next total lunar eclipse won’t happen until March 14, 2025.