Photo: Gersi/Shutterstock

Ring in July Fourth With a ‘Buck Moon’ Eclipse

News Astronomy
by Eben Diskin Jul 2, 2020

Instead of getting yourself into an ill-advised crowd to see this year’s fireworks, stay at home and look at the moon — the spectacle will be just as good.

This month’s full moon is happening on July 4, and is known as the “Buck Moon.” The name is derived from the natural phenomenon that typically occurs in July, wherein a male deer grows its new antlers. Deer shed their antlers after mating season, and then grow new ones when warmer weather comes.

But there’s more to this full moon than its unusual name. This year, the “Buck Moon” will be eclipsed by the earth’s outer shadow in a phenomenon called a penumbral lunar eclipse. The change to the face of the moon will be subtle, with only a slight darkening as our planet blocks the sun’s light from hitting the moon.

Everyone around the world will be able to see the “Buck Moon,” but only select locations will have a chance of seeing the lunar eclipse. NASA’s map below will help you determine if and when you’ll be able to witness the celestial phenomenon.

Path of the july 2020 lunar eclipse

Photo: NASA

NASA projects that the eclipse will last two hours and 45 minutes.

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