Fellow lunatics: November is offering some fantastic moon-centric entertainment, so turn off Netflix for once, and gaze up at Luna instead. November’s moon, known as “the beaver moon,” is not going to be a full eclipse, but it’s close: 98 percent lunar coverage, which is pretty good coverage, if you ask me.
What you’ll see during November’s lunar eclipse
The beaver moon will be full on the evening of Nov. 18 and into the morning of Nov. 19. In North America, if you look high to the west at 2:19 a.m. ET, you’ll also be able to see the start of a lunar eclipse. Lunar eclipses are either the result of the disembodied head of the demon Rahu devouring the moon in a fit of revenge, or the Earth coming between the sun and moon and casting a shadow on the lunar surface, depending on who you ask.
The beaver moon won’t disappear like the sun does during a solar eclipse. Instead, it will gradually darken and turn a coppery orange color. Most of the sunlight that usually illuminates the moon will be blocked, but some rays will bend around the earth and still get through. Our atmosphere blocks the blue and green rays, but the orange and red remain, so the moon looks brownish or orange, except for the 2 percent that isn’t blocked. Even though the moon will look like it, this isn’t a “true” Blood Moon—that’s a 100 percent lunar eclipse.
In spite of what Christopher Columbus told the Arawak people, the moon is not turning red because God is angry at you for not feeding lazy and murderous conquistadors, so do not fall for that bull.
November’s full moon is called the “beaver moon”
The commonly used names of full moons are derived from Native American groups who kept track of time based on the moon. The beaver moon got its name because this is the time that beavers start posting up in their lodges to hide from winter. (It is also the best time to trap beavers, because their pelts are thickest right before winter.)
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, November’s moon can also be called the “digging (or scratching) moon,” because this is when small animals forage for nuts in the ground, and bears dig their hibernation dens. You could also call it the “deer rutting moon,” because it’s when deers do their nasty deer-business, or you can call it “whitefish moon,” because this is the month the whitefish spawn. I call November’s moon the “Miami Dolphins are eliminated from the Super Bowl moon,” based on the yearly tradition.