While many of us won’t get to enjoy the usual fireworks this Fourth of July weekend, you should still keep an eye to the sky. The third lunar eclipse of 2020 will occur Saturday night, and it’s the first one visible in the United States.
Let’s start by defining the different types of eclipses. There are three you should know-total, partial and penumbral. A total lunar eclipse is when the Earth’s inner shadow (known as the umbra) falls on the Moon. On the other hand, a partial lunar eclipse is when the umbra covers part of the Moon.
The one this weekend will be a penumbral lunar eclipse, which is when the moon moves through the outer part of Earth’s shadow, also known as the penumbra. This eclipse is not as drastic as the others. If you look closely, you’ll see the moon look a bit darker.
The eclipse this weekend begins at 11:07 p.m. on July 4 and will end at 1:52 a.m. on July 5. The peak, which is the best time to see it, will be at 12:29 a.m. So in total, it will last about two hours and 45 minutes.
The next lunar eclipse will be in November. A lunar eclipse can only occur during a full moon. The Sun, Earth and Moon must also be exactly or nearly aligned.
This month’s full moon is known as the Buck Moon. It’s named after the new antlers that buck deer grow this time of year. Another name is the “Thunder Moon,” due to those typical summer thunderstorms.
Although you may not see a drastic change in the moon’s appearance, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a look outside in your neighborhood. So grab the family and look up to see if you notice a difference in the full moon.
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