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Longest partial lunar eclipse in nearly 600 years happened overnight

A partial, but almost total, lunar eclipse was seen across the world from Thursday night into Friday morning.

The longest partial lunar eclipse in nearly 600 years, and the longest anyone will see for another 600, happened Thursday night into Friday morning across the U.S. This full moon is also called a Beaver Moon.

The Earth will passed in front of the sun, causing our planet's shadow to fall on the moon. More than 97% of the moon wasl be in full shadow at its peak, NASA said, with a small sliver of the left side of the moon shining.

Credit: AP
A partial lunar eclipse is seen in Manila, Philippines on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles offered a live broadcast of the partial lunar eclipse.

The peak of the eclipse happened  three hours later at 4:03 a.m. EST (1:03 a.m. PST). The moon will left shadow at 5:47 a.m. EST and was be completely out of Earth's shadow at 7:03 a.m. EST, about three minutes before it set.

That nearly 3 1/2 hours between 2:18 and 5:47 a.m. EST was be the longest partial lunar eclipse between Feb. 18, 1440, and Feb. 8, 2669, according to Sky & Telescope.

Credit: ksdk

The reason for the lengthy eclipse is the moon's orbit. The eclipse happened 1.7 days before the moon reached its apogee, Sky & Telescope said. That's the farthest point the moon will be from the Earth in its orbit. That causes the orbital motion to be slower which, in turn, increases how long the eclipse lasts.

Why is this particular full moon nicknamed a Beaver Moon?

"This is the time of year when beavers begin to take shelter in their lodges, having laid up sufficient stores of food for the long winter ahead," said the Old Farmer's Almanac. "During the time of the fur trade in North America, it was also the season to trap beavers for their thick, winter-ready pelts. 

Credit: AP
The earth's shadow covers the full moon during a partial lunar eclipse as it sets beyond an apartment building, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, in downtown Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)