Deep Penumbral Lunar Eclipse on March 24-25, 2024: Timeline and Visibility

~5 min

The first lunar eclipse in 2024 is the deep penumbral lunar eclipse on the night of March 24-25. People in most of the Americas, eastern half of Australia, Japan, and western parts of Africa and Europe will be able to see it with the naked eye! You can check the time of the eclipse for your location with the Sky Tonight or Eclipse Guide astronomy apps. Keep reading to learn how to view this eclipse!


March 2024 lunar eclipse time & facts

  • Penumbral eclipse begins: March 25 at 04:53 GMT (12:53 a.m. EDT)
  • Eclipse reaches a maximum: March 25 at 07:12 GMT (03:12 a.m. EDT)
  • Penumbral eclipse ends: March 25 at 09:32 GMT (05:32 a.m. EDT)
  • Eclipse total duration: 4 hours, 39 minutes
  • Umbral magnitude: -0.132
  • Penumbral magnitude: 0.956*
  • Constellation: Virgo
  • Note: Penumbral eclipses are the most subtle lunar eclipses and are challenging to observe. But if you know exactly when to look, you’ll be able to add this type of eclipse to your collection of viewed astronomical phenomena.

*Find out what umbral and penumbral magnitude mean further on in this article, in the Lunar eclipse magnitude section.

Lunar eclipse on March 2024: Timeline
Timeline of the penumbral lunar eclipse on March 24-25. Don’t forget to convert this time to your local timezone.

What will this lunar eclipse look like?

During a penumbral lunar eclipse, the lunar disk doesn't turn red or look as if a "bite" has been taken out of it. It appears only slightly darkened.

The changes in its appearance usually aren't noticeable until the lunar disk is about 2/3 of the way into the penumbral shadow. At the mid-point of the eclipse, a small crescent of the Moon will fall outside of this dark shadow. However, as with all astronomical events, the final appearance depends on atmospheric conditions and a person's visual acuity.

Full Moon vs. Penumbral eclipse
Left, a normal Full Moon. Right, a Full Moon during a penumbral eclipse.

How to see a penumbral lunar eclipse?

The more of the lunar disk enters the Earth's shadow, the more noticeable the eclipse will be. During the March eclipse, 95.6% of the Moon will be in the penumbral shadow, which means there will be a good chance to see the eclipse with the naked eye. Keep in mind, however, that penumbral eclipses are difficult to see, and follow a few rules:

Look at the Moon near the eclipse's maximum. This will happen on March 25 at 07:12 GMT (03:12 a.m. EDT). Convert this to your local time using any convenient time converter (or just Google) and start observing just before that exact moment.

If you live in an area with tall buildings, ensure our natural satellite isn't hidden behind one of the skyscrapers. To find out the Moon’s position in your sky beforehand, use Sky Tonight app: in the app's search, find the penumbral lunar eclipse, and tap the blue target icon next to the corresponding search result. The app will show you the Moon’s location at the exact moment of the eclipse for your location. You can overlay the sky map on your camera’s image by tapping the big blue button and turning on the AR mode. See if the Moon is visible from your chosen viewing spot at the right time — if not, find another place for observations.

Where to see the March 2024 lunar eclipse?

The penumbral lunar eclipse on March 24-25 will be fully visible from most of the Americas. It will be visible from Australia and eastern Asia at moonrise, and from western parts of Africa and Europe at moonset.

To check if the eclipse is visible from your location, use the free app Sky Tonight:

  • Tap the calendar icon at the bottom of the screen to open the Calendar;
  • Go to March 2024 and tap the 24th or 25th, depending on your time zone (select the date with the small Moon icon);
  • Tap the Penumbral Lunar Eclipse event (below the calendar);
  • If the event can be observed from your location, its visibility time will be displayed under the image.
Lunar eclipse March 2024: map
Visibility map for the penumbral lunar eclipse on March 24-25. For the details, see the Sky Tonight app.

What is a penumbral lunar eclipse?

A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when only the Earth's outer and lightest shadow, the penumbra, falls on the lunar disk.

A lunar eclipse can only occur at Full Moon, when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are lined up in space, with the Earth in the middle. At such times, the Earth's shadow falls on the Moon, causing a lunar eclipse. Because the plane of the Moon's orbit is inclined to the plane of the Earth's orbit, the different parts of the Earth's shadow (umbra or penumbra) can block sunlight from reaching the Moon.

Lunar eclipse types
Different types of lunar eclipses.

If the March Full Moon were positioned exactly opposite the Sun, we would see a total lunar eclipse. That is, the darkest part of the Earth's shadow, the umbra, would cover the Moon at the maximum of the eclipse.

But instead, the March Full Moon passes almost completely through the Earth's penumbral shadow, creating a very deep penumbral lunar eclipse. By the way, astronomers use the term "eclipse magnitude" to measure the depth of an eclipse. Here is how it works.

Lunar eclipse magnitude

The lunar eclipse magnitude is the portion of the Moon's diameter that is covered by the Earth's shadow. The Earth has two parts of a shadow, so there are two magnitudes — umbral and penumbral. They are calculated at the moment of the greatest eclipse. Here are the ranges of the magnitude values:

Umbral magnitude:

  • Greater than 1.0 — total eclipse;
  • 0.0 to 1.0 — partial eclipse;
  • Less than 0.0 — penumbral eclipse.

The negative umbral magnitude is the distance from the edge of the visible lunar disk to the edge of the umbral shadow divided by the Moon’s diameter.

Penumbral magnitude:

  • Greater than 2.0 — total eclipse;
  • 1.0 to 2.0 — partial eclipse;
  • Less than 1.0 — penumbral eclipse.*

Penumbral lunar eclipses must have a penumbral magnitude of at least 0.60 to be visible to the naked eye. On March 24-25, we'll get a penumbral magnitude of 0.956, which means there's a good chance this eclipse will be visible even to a casual observer.

Eclipses in 2024

The March lunar eclipse will be the first of the year, followed by three more eclipses: a total solar eclipse on April 8, a partial lunar eclipse on September 18, and an annular solar eclipse on October 2. Stay informed about upcoming eclipses with our constantly updated infographic.

5 Upcoming Eclipses Infographics preview
List of 5 upcoming lunar and solar eclipses, their dates, timelines, and visibility maps. Find out whether you can see them from your location!
See Infographic

March lunar eclipse: bottom line

A penumbral lunar eclipse will take place on the night of March 24-25, 2024. It will reach its maximum at about 07:12 GMT (03:12 a.m. EDT). People in the western half of Africa, western Europe, the Americas, Japan, and the eastern half of Australia will have a chance to see it. During a penumbral lunar eclipse, the lunar disk darkens only slightly, but it's still a remarkable astronomical event. Try to see it with the Sky Tonight app!