The Beaver Moon Will Be Eclipsed

Long-exposure photograph showing the Moon turning red during a lunar eclipse (CC0 1.0,
Public Domain)

On Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, Election Day, the moon will pass through the shadow of Earth resulting in a total lunar eclipse that will be seen from Oceania, the Americas, Asia, and Northern Europe. This will be the second and final lunar eclipse of this year.

The eclipse will begin in at 4:10 a.m. EST (0810 GMT) and will end at approximately 7:49 a.m. EDT (1149 GMT) when the moon once again emerges. It will be at maximum at about 6 a.m. EST.

During the total lunar eclipse, the moon may take on a brownish-red-hue that results from light from the sun hitting its disk after being bent around the Earth by our planet’s atmosphere, which also filters out blue light. Thus, this is sometimes given the unscientific nickname of a “Blood Moon.”

Why the 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 winter. During the time when the fur trade in North America was an important industry, this was also the time to trap beavers for their thick, winter-ready pelts.

For eclipse specifics in your area, see… In my part of the country near New York City, the Penumbral Eclipse begins at 3:02:15 am and the Partial Eclipse begins at 4:09:12 am. A bit early for me. The Full Eclipse begins at 5:16:39 am and the Maximum Eclipse is at a more reasonable 5:59:11 am. The Full Eclipse ends at 6:41:36 am but by then it will be below the horizon. In fact, since I live between two mountains, the Moon will not be visible all that time as it would be if I was at sea level.

November’s Micro Beaver Blood Moon Eclipse

moon approach
NASA image

The next full moon will be on Friday, November 19th at 4:02 am ET. This month you can hang many labels on the Full Moon.  Micro Beaver Blood Moon Eclipse is a mouthful, so let me explain.

Common names for this Full Moon are the Beaver Moon, Frost Moon (or Freezing Moon depending on your location) and the Deer Rutting Moon.  But this year it will get more attention because it will be what some people call a blood moon eclipse.

The Moon will reach its full redpoint 4:02 a.m ET and Americans can get a quick glimpse if they are awake. If you want to see the complete eclipse, you’ll have to start watching at 2:18 a.m ET when the white moon starts shifting to red.

This is a  partial lunar eclipse but it will put 97% of the Moon into darkness. Depending on where you are in the world it occurs on Thursday, November 18 and into the early hours of Friday over North America. It will also be visible from Australia, New Zealand, eastern Asia and part of South America.

The big buzz in the media is that this will be the longest partial lunar eclipse since 1440. The entire eclipse lasts around 6 hours, Not to spoil things but the longest lunar eclipse in recent history was the total lunar eclipse of July 27, 2018, which lasted about 12 minutes longer than the one this week.

Here’s another label to hang on this lunar event. Lunar eclipses only happen on the night of a full moon. This month’s Full Moon will be the smallest full moon of the year. This is known as a “micromoon” which is the opposite of the “supermoon.” Supermoons are a popular term for when the Moon is closest to Earth. This month, the Moon will be at near apogee (the point in its orbit when it is farthest away from the Earth) and so it is a micromoon. It will appear about 14% smaller and 30% dimmer than a supermoon. Will you notice this with the naked eye? Probably not.

If there are no clouds obscuring the Moon, you should be able to see it even in a light-polluted place, unlike meteor showers. If its cloudy or you don’t want to go outside, the website will be providing live coverage of the event on YouTube from 2 a.m. ET.

North America will experience a pair to total lunar eclipses next year in May and November.

A Faint Eclipse on the Mourning Moon

Mourning Moon

The Full Moon for November is late, arriving tomorrow (the 30th) at 09:30 UTC, because the last Full Moon was on the last day of October. Here in Paradelle, the Moon will be full at 4:30 AM EST appearing opposite the Sun.

But the Moon always appears full for about three days around this time, so from Saturday night through Tuesday morning, it seems to most people that there is a Full Moon.

There will also be a very faint penumbral lunar eclipse. It will be nearly imperceptible, so you probably won’t see anything when you look up at that Full Moon even while it is happening.  I suppose a really careful observer, maybe with a telescope in a dark place, might see a subtle shading on the Moon

This celestial event made me think of the poem by Billy Collins, “As If to Demonstrate an Eclipse” from his collection, Nine Horses.

I pick an orange from a wicker basket
and place it on the table
to represent the sun.
Then down at the other end
a blue and white marble
becomes the earth
and nearby I lay the little moon of an aspirin…

That poem reminds me of  a solar system model that was in a number of my school classrooms where you could move the planets around the Sun which made me, like Collins, feel like “a benevolent god presiding / over a miniature creation myth.”
What you will be able to see in the night sky near the Moon during the eclipse is a reddish star called Aldebaran. That star is the Eye of the Bull in Taurus. The tiny dipper-shaped Pleiades star cluster (which is used in the Subaru emblem) will be nearby.

The November Full Moon has many names. In the past, we have used many of these names, especially those that apply to Paradelle nature signs, such as the Beaver Moon, Fog Moon, Moon of the Falling Leaves, Frost Moon, and Snow Moon.

In some pagan traditions, this is the Mourning Moon. Though many of us reflect on the year and make personal changes in our lives with the new year, this Full Moon can be seen as a time to let go of the past. If there is a bad habit, fears or emotions that are weighing you down, you are supposed to send them off as the moon rises Monday morning. A morning Mourning Moon for 2020 – a year many of us are quite willing to let go.

The Hard Face Moon of November

moon through pines

Today, November 12, 2019, at 8:37 A.M. the Moon became full again in my neighborhood. Commonly called the Beaver Moon, this was the Ful Moon that signaled for some Indian tribes and Colonists it was time to set beaver traps before swamps and rivers froze in order to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. For some people, the name meant that beavers were now actively preparing for winter.

There is no standard agreed-upon list of names for the monthly Full Moons and tat is especially trie among the Indian tribes of the Americas.

For example, the Cheyenne names for the Full Moons are often listed as the months of the Colonists calendar. That is why there may be two Moon names for one of our months.

Hard Face Moon is a name used by Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes.

On November 29, 1864, a village of Cheyenne and Arapaho encamped along Sand Creek in the southeastern Colorado Territory was attacked by the Colorado Territory militia. An estimated 150 to 200 Native Americans were killed, nearly all of them elderly men, women, and children.

Nancy Oswald uses the Sand Creek massacre as the climax for her historical novel, Hard Face Moon, which is the story of a young Cheyenne coming-of-age warrior, thirteen-year-old mute Hides Inside.  The story connects the earth and sky and the Cheyenne people, and it looks at one of the most shameful events in the history of the American West.”

Chief Black Kettle thought that by being peaceful with the whites he would be under the protection of the U. S. Army. The decision is not popular with his people, and the members of the Dog Soldier Society vowed to keep on fighting the whites.

The Sand Creek Massacre occurred in late November and probably was associated with the Hard Face Moon in their history.

Most of us have been told as children about the “Man in the Moon” and we can sometimes see a “face” in the Moon, especially when it is full. So, it is not surprising that people may have seen that face as a changing one.

While November is called by the Cheyenne He’koneneéše’he (Hard Face Moon) there are other months that use that “face” naming. February (He’konénehesó-eše’he) is called the Little Hard Face Moon. March is Heše’évenéhe-éše’he Dirt Face Moon, and October is Heše’kévénestseeše’he Dirt In The Face Moon.

But I find multiple names for the months/moons, such as October also being called Se’ma’omeveéše’he Starting To Freeze Moon.

In England this month was often the Harvest Moon, arriving a month or two later than in the U.S.

In the past, I have written about the November Full Moon as being called Hunters Moon, Snow Moon, (a name used by others for December and February) Sleeping Moon Before the Dark MoonFrost Moon, Trading Moon, Sleeping Moon (Celtic), Moon When Water Freezes and the Sassafras Moon.

In Paradelle this month, by this Full Moon we have had frost, a bit of snow, and no large bodies of water freezing . And that is why no one name for a monthly Full Moon can really apply to all places every year. Personally, I like the variety.

A Sassafras Moon in Taurus

Tonight, our Moon will be full and that often obscures some stars or planets in its glare.  But the star charts tell me that Aldebaran, a bright star that forms part of the “face” of Taurus the Bull, and the Pleiades star cluster in Taurus’ “shoulder” should still be visible. I am away from Paradelle and near a dark ocean, so viewing will be different from my home turf.

The November Full Moon is often called the Beaver Moon or Frosty Moon. Back in Paradelle, frosty would be the right word to describe the weather conditions tonight.  I’m not in the Southern Hemisphere, but I am close today, so it feels more like spring than late autumn. In either location, this Full Moon shines in front of Taurus the Bull for this third and final full moon of our Northern Hemisphere autumn (or the Southern Hemisphere spring).

Sassafras albidum growing in Paradelle

We might also use one of the American Indian names for this Full Moon. I believe it is the Choctaw that call this the Sassafras Moon. Sassafras is a tree commonly found throughout the eastern United States that grows up to about 60 feet in height. The tree is also sometimes called cinnamon wood.

I’m sure that the native Americans observed deer and porcupines eating the leaves and twigs. Rabbits eat sassafras bark in winter. Sassafras fruits are eaten by many species of birds, including bobwhite quail, wild turkeys, gray catbirds, pileated and downy woodpeckers. Sassafras root and bark was used in cooking and also herbal remedies. The leaves were used for tea.

Sassafras was also a component is commercial sodas, especially root beer – hence the root name. The key word is was. Sassafras has fallen out of favor because the root bark contains safrole, a volatile oil that the FDA banned as a potential carcinogen in the 1960s. With the safrole removed, it can be legally sold as a topical skin wash or as “aromatic potpourri.”

Whether tonight will be wintry frosty cold or spring like warm, this season we are in runs from the September equinox to the December solstice.

In December, the full moon will occur less than one day after the December solstice, a nice combination, though we will miss having four moons in this season.

Taurus as depicted in Urania’s Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London in 1825 as part of a treatise on astronomy.



Full Moon When the Water Freezes

Tonight’s Full Moon is often called the Hunter’s Moon or Blood Moon or Sanguine Moon. There are lots of other names out there for the November Full Moon, including  the Travel Moon, Dying Grass Moon, Moon of Falling Leaves, Beaver Moon, Moon of the Changing Seasons, Leaf Fall Moon, Trading Moon,  Basket Moon, Big Wind Moon, Blood Moon, Shedding Moon, Winterfelleth (Winter Coming), Windermanoth (Vintage Month), Ten Colds Moon,  and the Moon of the Changing Season.

Hunter’s moon is a very common name, but it only applies to November in some years. This is the name for the first full moon after the harvest moon, which is the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox. This year the Harvest Moon was in October, so this month is a Hunter’s Moon.  The Hunter’s Moon was once a feast day in parts of western Europe, and some Native American tribes also celebrated the hunt at this Full Moon.

Many American Indian tribes named this moon for the time the rivers started to freeze and the first snows and frosts came. As a child, my father told me that a frost in the fall or spring is more likely to occur on clear nights. That has some science behind it because thick cloud cover will retain some of the Earth’s heat. He also said that the night of a Full Moon is a likely frost night, but that would only be true if you clearly saw the Moon because it was a clear, cloudless night. Data on first and last frosts compared to the phases of the moon don’t show any correlation. Science ruins a lot of folklore.

Around Paradelle, November is the month when we will likely see a killing frost and some puddles will freeze overnight.  But not on this early November night – even with a Full Moon and no clouds.