The next lunar eclipse of 2023 will be a partial lunar eclipse on October 28.
It will be visible over parts of Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, North America, North/East South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Arctic and Antarctica.
Lunar eclipses occur when Earth is positioned between the sun and the moon and casts a shadow across the surface of the moon. They can only occur during a full moon and make for an interesting skywatching target.
Related: Solar eclipse guide: When, where & how to see them
The last total lunar eclipse that occurred on November 8, 2022, thrilled skywatchers worldwide, the next total lunar eclipse — also known as a blood moon lunar eclipse — won't happen until March 13/14, 2025.
There are three types of lunar eclipses depending on how the sun, Earth and moon are aligned at the time of the event.
- Total lunar eclipse: Earth's shadow is cast across the entire lunar surface.
- Partial lunar eclipse: During a partial lunar eclipse, only part of the moon enters Earth's shadow, which may look like it is taking a "bite" out of the lunar surface. Earth's shadow will appear dark on the side of the moon facing Earth. How much of a "bite" we see depends on how the sun, Earth and moon align, according to NASA.
- Penumbral lunar eclipse: The faint outer part of Earth's shadow is cast across the lunar surface. This type of eclipse is not as dramatic as the other two and can be difficult to see.
Penumbral lunar eclipse May 5
The first lunar eclipse of 2023 occurred on May. 5, 2023.
Exactly when the lunar eclipse was visible depends on where you are located but Time and Date says the penumbral eclipse began on May. 5 at 10:11 a.m. EST (1511 GMT), the maximum eclipse was reached at 12:22 p.m. EST (1722 GMT) and the penumbral eclipse ended at 14:31 p.m. EST (1931 GMT). The overall duration of the eclipse was 4 hours and 18 minutes.
According to TimeandDate.com, at least some parts of the lunar eclipse was visible in South/East Europe, Much of Asia, Australia, Africa, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean and Antarctica.
If you missed the lunar eclipse you can view the first lunar eclipse of 2023 in our photo roundup story.
Partial lunar eclipse October 28
The next lunar eclipse of 2023 will be a partial lunar eclipse on October 28.
Exactly when the lunar eclipse will be visible depends on where you are located but Time and Date says the partial eclipse begins at 14:35 p.m. (1935 GMT), the maximum eclipse occurs at 15:14 p.m. EST (2014 GMT) and the partial eclipse will end at 15:52 p.m. EST (2052 GMT). The faint penumbral lunar eclipse is visible for an hour or so either side of the partial lunar eclipse. The overall duration of the lunar eclipse will be 4 hours and 25 minutes.
According to Time and Date, at least some parts of the partial lunar eclipse should be visible over Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, North America, North/East South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Arctic and Antarctica.
To find out if the partial lunar eclipse on Oct. 28 is visible from your location check out this interactive map from TimeandDate.com.
If you're clouded out or unable to see the event in person, we will show you how to watch the event online via webcasts. Details on how to watch the October partial lunar eclipse will be released on Space.com closer to the time.
How to see a lunar eclipse
Lunar eclipses are among the easiest skywatching events to observe.
Looking for a telescope for the lunar eclipse? We recommend the Celestron Astro Fi 102 as the top pick in our best beginner's telescope guide.
To watch one, you simply go out, look up and enjoy. You don't need a telescope or any other special equipment. However, binoculars or a small telescope will bring out details on the lunar surface — moonwatching is as interesting during an eclipse as it is at any other time. If the eclipse occurs during winter, bundle up if you plan to be out for the duration — an eclipse can take a couple of hours to unfold. Bring warm drinks and blankets or chairs for comfort.
If you hope to snap a photo of a lunar eclipse, here's our guide on How to photograph a lunar eclipse with a camera. And if you need imaging equipment, our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography have recommendations to make sure you're ready for the next eclipse.
Fancy taking a more in-depth moonlit tour of our rocky companion? Our ultimate guide to observing the moon will help you plan your next skywatching venture whether it be exploring the lunar seas, mountainous terrain, or the many craters that blanket the landscape. You can also see where astronauts, rovers and landers have ventured with our Apollo landing sites observing guide.
Upcoming lunar eclipses
We will not experience another total lunar eclipse until March 14, 2025. There will however be partial and penumbral lunar eclipses to keep us occupied in the meantime.
Upcoming lunar eclipses according to NASA:
|Year||Date||Type of eclipse||Visible locations|
|2023||May. 5||Penumbral||Africa, Asia, Australia|
|2023||Oct. 28||Partial||E. Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia|
|2024||Sept. 18||Partial||Americas, Europe, Africa|
|2025||Mar. 13/14||Total||Pacific, Americas, W. Europe, W. Africa|
|2025||Sept. 7||Total||Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia|
|2026||Mar. 3||Total||E. Asia, Australia, Pacific, Americas|
|2026||Aug. 28||Partial||E. Pacific, Americas Europe, Africa|
Lunar eclipse FAQs answered by an expert
We asked meteorologist Joe Rao, a few commonly asked questions about lunar eclipses.
Joe Rao is Space.com's skywatching columnist, as well as a veteran meteorologist and eclipse chaser who also serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium.
How often does a lunar eclipse happen?
This depends on what type of lunar eclipse you are referring to. There are two shadows cast into space by the Earth. A faint outer shadow called the penumbra and a much darker central shadow called the umbra. Penumbral lunar eclipses happen at least twice each year. However, in many cases, the penumbra is so faint that, more often than not, most people completely miss out on noticing it when it happens. Umbral eclipses occur about every 2 or 3 years — sometimes twice in a single year. Since the umbra is dark and well-defined people notice it when the moon moves either partially or completely within it.
How long do lunar eclipses last?
It depends on how deeply the moon penetrates into the Earth's umbra and how far away the moon is from the Earth. When the moon is near its closest point to Earth (perigee) it is moving much faster in its orbit as compared to when it's near its farthest point from Earth (apogee). Generally speaking, in the case of a total eclipse, it can last about three hours: one hour for the moon to move completely into the umbra, one hour for the moon to be completely immersed in the umbra and one hour for the moon to move out of the umbra. Totality can vary from just a few minutes to as long as 107 minutes. In the latter case, the moon moves directly through the center of the Earth's shadow while moving at its slowest in its orbit (apogee).
What's the difference between a lunar eclipse and a solar eclipse?
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon crosses in front of the sun (at new moon). A lunar eclipse is something quite different. It occurs when the full moon passes into the Earth's shadow.
Editor's note: If you capture an amazing photo of a lunar eclipse and would like to share it with Space.com for a story or gallery, send images and comments to managing editor Tariq Malik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want more information on the lunar eclipses of 2023? NASA's total lunar eclipse of May 5 guide and the Oct. 28 guide has further details on eclipse durations and viewing opportunities.
Espenak, F. Full Moon at Perigee (Full Supermoon): 2001 to 2100. Astro Pixels. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
NASA. Lunar Eclipse Page. NASA. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
May 5, 2023. Penumbral lunar eclipse. Time and Date. Retrieved Nov. 9, 2023.
October 28, 2023. Partial lunar eclipse. Time and Date. Retrieved Nov. 9, 2023.