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2021 set for longest lunar eclipse in centuries, culminating at 2:02 a.m. Friday

Composite of eight photos of a lunar eclipse of “super blue blood moon” as seen from above Snow Canyon State Park in Washington County on Jan. 31, 2018.

Composite of eight photos of a lunar eclipse of “super blue blood moon” as seen from above Snow Canyon State Park in Washington County on Jan. 31, 2018. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — It may only be a partial lunar eclipse, but early Friday will reward skywatchers at the end of 2021 with one of the longest eclipses in centuries.

According to NASA the eclipse is set to last 3 hours and 28 minutes; this means it will become not just one of the longest lunar eclipses of the 21st century, but the longest in more than 580 years.

NASA's Solar System Ambassador to Utah Patrick Wiggins said, "Utahns will be treated to a near-total eclipse of the moon this coming Friday morning, the 19th."

Wiggins said the eclipse will begin to show a darkening on the edge of the moon just a few minutes after midnight when the moon will start to get covered by the Earth's shadow.

This partial eclipse will culminate at 2:02 a.m. Friday morning where the moon will be deep within the umbral shadow and be 97% in the shadows. Despite not being a total eclipse, Wiggins said there's a possibility we may still see the darkened portion of the moon take on some of the colors associated with total eclipses.

After it reaches the darkest point, the shadow will slowly leave the moon until we're back to normal at 3:47 a.m.

"Now," Wiggins notes, "let's hope the weather will cooperate Friday morning. Fingers crossed."

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Colby Walker

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