Are you ready for the total lunar eclipse on Friday, July 27? The lunar eclipse will be the longest of the 21st century, lasting for a whopping 102 minutes. This week’s eclipse will also be a blood moon, because instead of being totally dark during the eclipse, the moon will appear colored in deep red.

July’s full moon is also called the full buck moon because it’s when a buck’s antlers are in full growth mode, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. But there’s an argument to be made that in the United States you could call the full moon during the July 27 lunar eclipse the weed moon. Why?

The lunar eclipse peaks at 4:21 p.m. Eastern — one minute after 4:20 p.m., a time that is very closely associated with weed culture.

Inverse asked Professor Andrew Coates, UCL Space & Climate Physics, via email about lunar eclipse times, and he confirmed that for East Coast viewers who want to check out the eclipse online, “The times of the full eclipse which could be seen on the livestream are 1930 (start), 2021 (full) and 2113 (UT), this corresponds to 3:30, 4:21 and 5:13 (PM EST).”

eclipse lunar
Lunar eclipse

The Significance of 420

Supposedly, 4:20 p.m. is so closely associated with marijuana because it’s based on the time a group of 1970s California students at San Rafael High School would meet up to smoke pot after school. The group eventually started hanging backstage at Grateful Dead concerts, and the band and crew picked up using the term “420” as a code word for smoking marijuana. The term entered the cultural lexicon, and the rest is history.

Noah Petro, a scientist for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, told ABC News the lunar eclipse will start around 1:14 p.m. Eastern. But the maximum period of totality will begin around 4:21 p.m. Eastern, so it will be too light outside for the moon to be visible for people in the United States. It’s also, interestingly enough, right after a time a lot of people associate with taking a break to smoke some weed.

eclipse
Eclipse through the trees.

North America Is Out Of Luck for the Total Lunar Eclipse

Even though the eclipse may peak at a pretty amusing time to anyone who knows anything about 420, any stoner who tries to claim they can see the lunar eclipse at 4:21 p.m. Eastern on Friday in the U.S. is lying. The eclipse will only be completely visible in Eastern Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, and it will be partially visible in West Africa, South America, Europe, and Australia.

The good news is, the Virtual Telescope Project will offer a livestream to anyone who can’t see the epic lunar eclipse on July 27 in person. So if you really want to light it up at 4:20 p.m., then catch the eclipse just a minute later on a livestream. It’s totally your prerogative to celebrate this historic lunar eclipse that way.

This article was updated on July 25 with a quote from Professor Coates.


It’s D🌝PE SPACE WEEK: July 23-29, 2018, will see a full moon (the “Full Buck Moon”); a total lunar eclipse that will see it turned a bloody color; Mars at opposition, wherein the red planet will be at its closest approach to Earth; and the Delta Aquarid meteor shower. Such a confluence of dope celestial events calls for the first semi-annual Inverse Dope Space Week! Be sure to join our private Dope Space Pics Facebook group to share in the strange wonder of space all year long. And listen to I Need My Space, the Inverse weekly podcast about the weirdness of space.