PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — An ominous blood moon lunar eclipse will hang in the sky as ballots are set to be tallied for the November 8 general election. NASA says it is the last total lunar eclipse the Earth will see for the next three years. A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, Earth, and moon align, causing the moon to be draped in the darkest part of the Earth’s shadow, known as the umbra.
These lunar eclipses are sometimes referred to as “blood moons” due to the reddish hue that is cast onto the moon by refracted sunlight passing through Earth’s atmosphere. This phenomenon, known as Rayleigh scattering, also gives the Earth its blue skies and rose-colored sunsets.
“The more dust or clouds in Earth’s atmosphere during the eclipse, the redder the Moon will appear,” NASA says. “It’s as if all the world’s sunrises and sunsets are projected onto the Moon.”
If unobstructed by cloud cover, the total eclipse of the moon will be visible in the Pacific Northwest and across North and Central America. The next full moon eclipse will occur on March 14, 2025.
“You don’t need any special equipment to observe a lunar eclipse, although binoculars or a telescope will enhance the view and the red color,” NASA says. “A dark environment away from bright lights makes for the best viewing conditions.”
Ironically, the Election Day eclipse is also a “Beaver Moon”—the second full moon of autumn. This term, NASA says, was popularized by the Maine Farmer’s Almanac, which published the Native American names for full moons in the 1930s.
“According to this almanac, the Native American tribes of what is now the northern and eastern United States named this the Beaver Moon,” NASA explains. “One interpretation is that mid-fall was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps freeze to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name ‘beaver moon’ came from how active the beavers are in this season as they prepare for winter.”