The Moon will have a subtle shadow on the evening of July 4-5, 2020, as a penumbral lunar eclipse passes, visible from most areas in Canada.
A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the Full Moon moves into the lightest part of the Earth’s shadow, or the penumbra. The darkening will be faint and could be difficult to see in a light-polluted or hazy night, but it’s always pleasurable to look at the Moon nonetheless.
This is the third lunar eclipse of the year, and the first visible from the Western Hemisphere.
When and where to see it
The shallow eclipse will be visible in all the provinces of Canada (some of northwestern B.C. will be excluded) and portions of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, according to NASA. The eclipse is safe to view and may be visible by the naked eye, although you’re more likely to see the darkening in binoculars or a telescope.
Only regions in eastern Manitoba and further east of there will see the entire eclipse in Canada; west of that point, viewers will see the show during moonrise, when it may be harder to view the darkening. The eclipse is also visible outside of Canada; regions include Central America, South America, and parts of Europe and Africa.
The 2020 Observer’s Handbook states that the eclipse occurs at the Moon’s descending node in Sagittarius. It begins July 4 at 11:07 p.m. EDT (0307 GMT July 5), with maximum eclipse taking place July 5 at 12:29 a.m. EDT (0429 GMT). The eclipse will end July 5 at 1:52 a.m. EDT (0552 GMT).
Photographing the eclipse
We suggest getting used to photographing the Moon in the days and weeks leading up to the eclipse. How you shoot the eclipse will depend on your ultimate goals.
If you’re looking for a scenic view, you’ll need little more equipment than a DSLR camera and a steady surface on which to put it for a time exposure, such as a tripod or flat railing. If you want to photograph lunar features, you will need to invest in binoculars or a telescope, and likely a tracking mount to follow the Moon’s movements in the sky.
Given the range of brightnesses available during a lunar eclipse, and the effect you want to achieve, there is no “right” setting for your camera. You may want to take longer exposures to show the light play over time, or shorter exposures to capture one particular moment. The ISO will also vary. Experienced photographers recommend experimenting with exposure settings, ISO and any other equipment such as binoculars or telescopes.