Dog doggie dogs How to Watch the Penumbral Eclipse on July 4

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Photo: Manish Punekar (Shutterstock)

If you’re not a fan of fireworks (or the ones in your area have been cancelled), there’s something going on in the night sky on the 4th of July: a penumbral lunar eclipse. No, it’s not as flashy or loud as fireworks, but it probably also won’t cause your dog to shake and hide under the couch. Here’s how to watch the upcoming penumbral eclipse, and what happens during this nighttime event.

What is a penumbral lunar eclipse?

Before we get into how to see the penumbral lunar eclipse, what exactly is it? So, full disclosure: this isn’t the most exciting eclipse out there. OK, it’s not even the most exciting lunar eclipse out there. But, it does help to know what you’re looking at in the sky.

Basically, the moon will appear darker than usual, sometimes with a very slight gray shading on one part. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, here’s what’s going on:

  • If you look at your own shadow on the sidewalk you’ll see a main part where the Sun is completely blocked out. But there’s also a less dark blurry fringe surrounding your shadow. That’s your penumbral shadow. If an ant ventured into this penumbral section it would see the sun partially but not fully blocked.
  • Our planet casts a black umbral shadow into space. Anything venturing into it is completely robbed of sunlight. Earth’s umbral shadow gets smaller and smaller the farther it goes. It tapers like a chopstick and disappears entirely a million miles from us in the anti-sunward direction.

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How to watch the penumbral lunar eclipse

As usual, the best way to find out what is visible in your area is to check TimeAndDate.com. Enter your city, then click on the “Sun & Moon” tab at the top, and then “Eclipses.”

So let’s say you live in New York City. The penumbral lunar eclipse begins on Saturday, July 4, 2020 at 11: 07p.m., and ends at 1: 52a.m. on Sunday, July 5. The whole thing lasts for two hours and 45 minutes, and the best view of it will be at 12: 29a.m.

The good news is that this eclipse will be visible in many parts of the world, including South America, Antarctica, parts of Europe, most of Africa, and most of North A

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