How To Watch The Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

by Pamela J. Hobart

Did you know that the last eclipse of the year is almost upon us? Learn how to watch the penumbral lunar eclipse so you don't miss this celestial treat. Spoiler alert: Not everyone on Earth will be able to enjoy this penumbral lunar eclipse with their naked eyes, but there's still hope for you yet.

What is a penumbral lunar eclipse anyway? To make a long story short, and according to EarthSky, it's when "only the more diffuse outer shadow of Earth falls on the moon’s face." This makes the penumbral lunar eclipse more subtle and difficult to spot than the other forms of lunar eclipses, during which the shadow of the Earth falls completely (total lunar eclipse) or only partially (partial lunar eclipse) on the face of the moon.

Next point of fact — the penumbral lunar eclipse will happen on Sept. 16. When it happens will obviously depend on your timezone, which you can check via But for reference, on the East coast, the penumbral lunar eclipse will begin at 12:54:42 PM and end at 4:53:59 p.m.

Will you be able to actually see the penumbral lunar eclipse at that time, though? Like the annular solar eclipse that happened earlier in September, the penumbral lunar eclipse will only be visible from parts of the world that aren't North America, unfortunately. At least parts of Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, South America, Pacific, and Antarctica (plus the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans) will enjoy the subtle penumbral lunar show. According to, even those lucky sky-gazers might need to view the penumbral lunar eclipse with a telescope or binoculars in order to see it clearly, though.

Not to worry, North America — there's a technology fix. You can log on to (registration required) to watch the penumbral lunar eclipse online, including a program about the cultural history and mechanics of lunar events. Happy moon watching!

Images: Giphy (2)