How to see the lunar eclipse ‘buck moon’ this weekend of July 4


Look for a slight darkening of the moon on July 4th and 5th.

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Along with this year’s Independence Day fireworks, sky watchers in the US will be able to enjoy an additional heavenly spectacle. A lunar eclipse “buck moon” is set for the night of July 4 and the morning of July 5, depending on where you are.

The eclipse will be visible in most of North and South America, as well as parts of southwestern Europe and Africa. This NASA map shows the visibility of the globe. Time and date can help you identify the best viewing window for your specific location.

This visibility map shows where in the world you can see the penumbral eclipse on July 4 and 5.

F. Espenak / NASA

A penumbral eclipse is the relaxed cousin of a total lunar eclipse. Total eclipses can submerge the moon in a red cape. The moon this weekend will only capture a portion of Earth’s outer shadow, known as twilight, so it will look for a very subtle change as a moon bite becomes a bit darker than normal.

The July full moon is known as the “buck moon,” a name that dates back to the Maine Farmer’s Almanac in reference to the male deer that grow their antlers.

The eclipse will not be as dramatic as the fireworks expected in the United States on July 4. As NASA said in a skywatch update in June, “the slight reduction in the moon’s brightness will be difficult to notice with the human eye.” That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. With clear skies, you will still enjoy a beautiful full moon.

For more information on how to see and enjoy eclipses, both lunar and solar, check out our eclipse guide.