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Fri Jul 3, 2020, 12:14 AM

How to watch the 'Independence Day' lunar eclipse

By Laura Geggel - Associate Editor 7 hours ago

A partial lunar eclipse, as seen from Bahrain on April 25, 2013.
(Image: Shutterstock)

Bummed about Fourth of July fireworks being canceled in your area? Don't be: There will be an even bigger celestial treat for skygazers this weekend; a full moon and a partial penumbral eclipse will be visible this Saturday and Sunday (July 4-5).

The timing isn't a coincidence lunar eclipses can only happen during a full moon. However, unlike the Great American Eclipse of 2017, this eclipse won't be total. Instead, only a faint shadow of Earth will fall on the moon.

The lunar show begins the evening of Independence Day and ends during the early morning hours of Sunday, July 5. Unlike the lunar eclipse that accompanied June's full "strawberry" moon, this eclipse will be visible in most of the U.S., including the lower 48 and Hawaii, but not Alaska.

A partial penumbral eclipse happens when Earth is between the sun and a full moon. Eclipses begin when Earth's shadow falls on the moon, but in this case, the moon won't be passing through Earth's dark, inner shadow, known as the umbra. Instead, on July 4 the moon will go through Earth's outer, lighter shadow, known as the penumbra. (The video below shows a helpful visualization.)


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Reply How to watch the 'Independence Day' lunar eclipse (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jul 3 OP
John1956PA Jul 3 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Jul 3, 2020, 12:31 AM

1. As an aside, I will mention that the earth will be at aphelion on July 4.

At aphelion, the earth is at the farthest point from the sun during the year. The earth's elliptical orbit caused it to be closest to the sun (perihelion) on January 5, 2020, and will cause it to be farthest from the sun on July 4. Over time, those dates progress due to the earth's axial precession. It takes the earth about 25, 772 years to complete one cycle of axial precession.

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