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November 10, 2019

Beaver Moon and rare Mercury transit will be visible this week

Astronomy Moon
Beaver full moon Philadelphia Slate/YouTube

A 'Beaver Moon' will be visible Sunday night through Wednesday morning. The full moon will reach its peak fullness on Tuesday morning at 8:34 a.m.

November's full moon, known as the "Beaver Moon," will appear full from Sunday night into Wednesday morning just as a rare Mercury transit makes its way across the sun on Monday. 

The moon will reach its peak fullness on Tuesday morning, Nov. 12, at 8:34 a.m. The best time to catch the full moon's glow in Philadelphia will be on Monday night, 15 minutes after the moonrise at 4:42 p.m., or Tuesday morning just before the moonset at 5:30 a.m.

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The Beaver Moon gets its nickname from — you guessed it — beavers, who are typically busy preparing for hibernation during this time of the year. It's name also derives from the American pioneer practice of hunting beavers for their pelts in preparation for winter. Other nicknames for this moon include the Full Frost Moon, and Long Nights Moon.

But before you check out the full moon, Mercury will transit across the sun on Monday for approximately five hours. This transit will not be visible to the naked eye, as Mercury is half the size of Venus and twice as far from Earth, but it will be visible with a telescope. Just make sure you use solar-blocking filters on the lenses. 

Mercury will appear as a small black dot against the surface of the sun. The transit will begin at 7:36 a.m. and reach the center of the sun at 10:20 a.m. The planet will then exit the sun at 1:04 p.m. This rare astronomical event won't be visible in North America again until 2032. 

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