lunar eclipse 4th july

The fun doesn’t stop when the fireworks shows end this 4th of July. Night owls will have the chance to see another spectacular sight on Independence Day — a lunar eclipse.

A penumbral lunar eclipse is set to take place Saturday night and into the early hours of Sunday, July 5.

According to EarthSky.org, “In a penumbral lunar eclipse, only the more diffuse outer shadow of Earth – the penumbra – falls on the moon’s face. This third kind of lunar eclipse is much more subtle, and much more difficult to observe, than either a total or partial eclipse of the moon. There is never a dark bite taken out of the moon, as in a partial eclipse. The eclipse never progresses to reach the dramatic minutes of totality. At best, at mid-eclipse, very observant people will notice a dark shading on the moon’s face. Others will look and notice nothing at all.”

A penumbral eclipse of the moon can be difficult to distinguish from a typical full moon, but sharp observers may note that it has slightly darkened the moon.

The eclipse will be visible throughout much of the US, and it should start on July 4 around 10:07 pm local time and last until 1:52 am. The best time to view the eclipse will be around 11:30 pm in the middle of the event.

 

Lunar Eclipse Kicks Off a Busy July for Astronomy Lovers

The Independence Day lunar eclipse is the first of 3 astronomy events to look forward to in July.

In mid-July, both Jupiter and Saturn will reach peak brightness for 2020, providing the best chance to see the planets with or without a telescope.

Jupiter will reach its brightest point on July 14, followed by Saturn a few on July 20.

At the end of July, skywatchers will be able to enjoy a pair of meteor showers on the evening of July 28 into the early hours of July 29.

“What is notable about this shower is the number of bright fireballs produced during its activity period,” the American Meteor Society has said.

You can see the full 2020-2021 meteor shower calendar here.