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Alberta’s Witching Hour Total Lunar Eclipse Nov. 8

Posted on 4 November 2022 by Neel Roberts

By Neel Roberts

What is the witching hour? Traditionally it’s between 3:00 A.M. to 4:00 A.M. Sometimes referred to as the “Devil’s hour” due to it being the time of night that is associated with supernatural events, whereby witches, demons and ghosts are thought to appear and be at their most powerful. The phrase is believed to have origins around 1775 in the poem “Night, an Ode.” by Rev. Matthew West, though it may may go further back to 1535 when the Catholic Church prohibited activities during the 3–4 am timeframe due to emerging fears about witchcraft in Europe. Back here in Canada, Halloween’s officially passed but in Alberta we’ll have a “spooktacular” view of a “blood red” total lunar eclipse https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/lunar/2022-november-8 during the witching hour.

Coined as the “Beaver Moon” (sounds Canadian, eh?) it named for two main reasons. It’s the time of year where beavers started to hibernate and have their stock of food ready for the winter, so they begin to take shelter. The other reason is for their fur. Hunters would lay traps to catch the beavers at this time of year as they are fully grown. This meant that more fur could be taken from the beavers if caught compared to any other time of the year. If you want to catch the eclipse with other likeminded stargazers (or beaver hunters!) the RASC Calgary is hosting a special overnight event https://www.meetup.com/the-calgary-astronomy-meetup-group/events/289102801/ at the Weaselhead and North Glenmore Park Tuesday, November 08th, 2022 starting at 1:00 AM to 6:00 AM at the Weaselhead parking lot 6615 37 Street SW, Calgary, AB. 

There is no charge and the public’s welcome. Penumbral begins Nov 8 at 1:02:15 am, partial eclipse begins 2:09:12 am, full eclipse begins 3:16:39 am, maximum eclipse 3:59:11 am, full eclipse ends 4:41:36 am with totality lasting 84 minutes, partial eclipse ends 5:49:03 am and penumbral ends 6:56:09 am. While no spooks, ghouls and apparitions are expected to show up during the witching hour blood red moon, there’s lots of Beavers if you’re a trapper. Telescopes will be set up and will be watching the moon as it passes through the earth’s shadow, momentarily disappearing completely. Dress warmly including boots, hats and gloves. The Best is Yet to Come!

Sky watch for the next month: Download this month’s sky free charts athttp://whatsouttonight.com/Resources/2022NovWOTSkyChart.pdfhttps://in-the-sky.org/newscal.php?month=9&year=2022&maxdiff=7#dateselhttps://in-the-sky.org/skymap2.phphttps://www.heavens-above.com/SkyChart.aspx.

  1. Moon & Mars Morning Friday, November 11th before sunrise look West as this duo will still be visible at daybreak before it sets in the NW before 11:00 AM. https://in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20221111_20_100
  1. Leonid Meteor Shower Peaks Wednesday, November 17th before dawn look towards the constellation of Leo. Originating from the comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, it should produce meteors at the rate of 10-15 per hour and the New Moon with no light will give a spectacular view. https://in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20221118_10_100
  2. Dusk to Dwan Pleiades (M45)- Friday, November 18th before sunset look NEE as the Seven Sisters rises all night right into daybreak before setting in the NNW. https://in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20221118_17_100
  3. Moon & Saturn Close Monday, November 28th after sunset look SSE as this duo sets into the night. https://in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20221129_20_100

Happy Cooler days and Meteor Watching!

Neel Roberts is a local astronomer in Southern Alberta and welcomes your comment atNeel_Roberts@ptccanada.comTel: (403) 560-6574. Check out his work at http://www.ptccanada.com

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