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Dates of lunar and solar eclipses in 2021

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Patrick Prokop in Savannah, Georgia captured and combined these photos of the eclipsed moon and wrote: “A composite of photos that I took of the January 20, 2019, lunar eclipse from my backyard garden.” Thank you, Patrick!

There are between four and seven eclipses each year, some total, some partial, some lunar, some solar. In 2021, we’ll have four eclipses:

May 26, 2021: Total lunar eclipse

June 10, 2021: Annular solar eclipse

November 19, 2021: Partial lunar eclipse

December 4, 2021: Total solar eclipse

On a worldwide scale, a lunar eclipse always comes within one fortnight (approximately two weeks) of a solar eclipse.

The first eclipse of 2021 happens during the nighttime hours on May 26, 2021, as the full moon passes through the Earth’s dark umbral shadow to display the first total eclipse of the moon since January 21, 2019. Find out if and/or when this eclipse is visible in your sky via TimeandDate.com.

One fortnight (about two weeks) after the May 26 total lunar eclipse, the new moon will sweep directly in front of the sun to present an annular solar eclipse, whereby an annulus – or thin ring – of sunshine surrounds the new moon silhouette. Although the annular solar eclipse can only be viewed from rather limited swath of the Earth’s surface, a much larger part of the world will be in a position to watch a partial eclipse of the sun. Find out if and/or when this eclipse is visible from your part of the globe via TimeandDate.com.

Read more: Top 7 tips for watching the sun safely

One semester (six lunar months or six full moons) after the May 26 total lunar eclipse, an almost-full partial lunar eclipse will take place on November 19, 2021. Then a total eclipse of the sun will happen on December 4, 2021, exactly one semester (six lunar months or six new moons) after the annular solar eclipse on June 10, 2021.

A list of moon phases for the year 2021.

Oftentimes, a solar eclipse recurs after six lunar months (six returns to new moon), and a lunar eclipse recurs after six full moons (six returns to full moon). This year, 2021, stands as no exception. A = annular solar eclipse, T = total solar eclipse, t= total lunar eclipse, and p = partial lunar eclipse. Moon phases via Astropixels.

Fortnight separation between solar and lunar eclipses. A solar eclipse always takes place within one fortnight of any lunar eclipse. This year, we have a pair of eclipses (one lunar and one solar) in May-June 2021, and then again in November-December 2021.

Somewhat rarely, a lunar eclipse can come one fortnight before and after a solar eclipse. This most recently happened last year, in 2020:

June 5: Penumbral lunar eclipse
June 21: Annular solar eclipse
July 5: Penumbral lunar eclipse

Also, somewhat rarely, a solar eclipse can occur one fortnight before and after a lunar eclipse. This last happened in 2018:

July 13: Partial solar eclipse
July 27: Total lunar eclipse
August 11: Partial solar eclipse

Read more about three eclipses in one month

A total lunar eclipse shown as a reddish, dark orange moon.

This is what a total lunar eclipse looks like, here illustrated by the eclipse of October 27, 2004. Here’s why the moon turns red during a total eclipse. Image via Fred Espenak.

picture of eclipse, dark circle with white light flaring out around it.

Composite image of total solar eclipse in 1999, by Fred Espenak. Read his article on the August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse, the first one visible from contiguous North America since 1979.

Various stages of an annular solar eclipse from Brocken Inaglory via Wikimedia Commons.

Various stages of an annular solar eclipse. Image via Brocken Inaglory/ Wikimedia Commons.

Bottom line: Here are the dates of all solar and lunar eclipses in 2021.

Order your safe solar eclipse glasses from EarthSky

Bruce McClure

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