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Rare, long-duration lunar eclipse happens Thursday night, but Mainers won't be able to see it due to clouds

As usual with unique and visual outer space events, clouds and rain are in the forecast for Maine. Bah, humbug.

MAINE, USA — Anoter rare, out-of-this-world spectacle happens Thursday night: a nearly 6-hour-long lunar eclipse during November's full moon.

Sounds pretty awesome, right?

Well, the forecast says otherwise. It will be cloudy. And rainy. And there might even be a few wet snowflakes that mix in as the cold front passes through the higher terrain.

This seems like a common theme with these events. The partial solar eclipse earlier this year was almost ruined by clouds.

The aurora borealis was hidden behind cloud cover just a few weeks ago.

Sure, things line up just right every now and then, but still, we lose this battle often.

Almost every. Single. Time.

Credit: NEWS CENTER Maine
Eclipse times in Maine.

Let's talk a bit about the science of this eclipse and why it's of interest before I get into the forecast details.

The penumbral eclipse begins at 1:02 a.m. Friday. This is when the earth's shadow begins to appear on the moon's surface.

At this point, the moon will be to the southwest and be fairly high in the sky.

At 2:18 a.m., the partial eclipse begins and the moon will appear red.

The eclipse peaks at 4:02 a.m. with almost complete coverage of the moon. This is when the moon is closest to the center of the shadow.

The moon will be almost due west and lower in the sky.

At 5:47 a.m., the partial eclipse ends. The penumbral eclipse will still continue.

The moon will be very low in the sky at this point and located off to the northwest.

The moon will set at 6:52 a.m., but the penumbral eclipse will not end until 7:03 a.m. This means the entire eclipse is about 6 hours long, even though we won't be able to catch the end of it since it will be below the horizon.

Credit: NEWS CENTER Maine
Full moon and eclipse facts.

So, why is this of interest anyway?

This will be the longest lunar eclipse in a very long time ... like, since 1440. That's 581 years.

The next lunar eclipse that will be of this same duration is not until 2669. So, just over 600 years from right now.

I guess now is a good time to start eating more vegetables if you want to catch that one!

Credit: NEWS CENTER Maine

Here's the forecast for 1 a.m., which shows rain just about everywhere. If you're not actually dealing with rain (or maybe even snow) at this point in time, you're still under some thick clouds.

Credit: NEWS CENTER Maine

There will be minimal improvements by 5 a.m. with rain shifting east and thick clouds across western Maine. Maybe, just maybe, central New Hampshire will have a shot at catching the tail end of this.

So, where should you go if you want to try to catch it?

West. As far west as you reasonably can, I would say.

I think our friends in western New England and upstate New York will have the highest chance at seeing the event in its entirety.

I'm sure we'll have some great pictures to enjoy on social media tomorrow.

On the bright side, a total lunar eclipse will be visible on May 16, 2022. Maybe, just maybe, we'll have a quiet stretch of weather with clear skies.

For more info on this as well as other science reporting, follow me on Twitter, @MikeSliferWX.

RELATED: NEWS CENTER Maine Weather Forecast

RELATED: Longest partial lunar eclipse in nearly 600 years is this week