Everything About Lunar Eclipse

A Lunar Eclipse occur when the Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon and covers the Moon with its shadow. A lunar eclipse can occur only at full Moon when the Sun, Moon and Earth are exactly aligned to form a line, Syzygy, astronomical term which is used for this type of alignment. The word Syzygy comes from the Greek word syzygia which means "being paired together". The Moon does not have its own light but shines because its surface reflects the Sun's rays. During a lunar eclipse, Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon, blocking the sunlight falling on the Moon. The Sun casts the Earth's shadow on the Moon's surface.


Types Of Lunar Eclipses

Total Lunar Eclipse

A total lunar eclipse occurs when Earth's umbra, the central dark part of its shadow, obscures all of the Moon's surface. The moon won't completely disappear, but it will be cast in an eerie darkness that makes it easy to miss if you were not looking for the eclipse. Some sunlight passing through Earth's atmosphere is scattered and refracted, and refocused on the moon, giving it a dim glow even during totality. 

Partial Lunar Eclipse

A partial lunar eclipse can be observed when only part of the Moon's surface is obscured by Earth's umbra. During the partial phase, the sun, Earth and moon are not quite perfectly aligned, and Earth's shadow appears to take a bite out of the moon.

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

A penumbral lunar eclipse takes place when the Moon travels through the faint penumbral (outer) part of Earth's shadow."The outer part of Earth's penumbra is so pale that you won't notice anything until the moon's edge has slid at least halfway in," Alan MacRobert, said in a statement.

When Lunar Eclipse Takes Place?

Total lunar eclipse takes place only when it is a full moon and at the same time, the Moon is very near a lunar node, so the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth are aligned in a straight line.

Why don't we see a lunar eclipse every month if a Full Moon is needed for a total lunar eclipse?

The reason is that the Moon's orbit around the Earth is tilted at an angle of 5° relative to the Earth's orbit around the Sun, also known as the ecliptic. The points where the orbital planes meet are called Lunar Nodes. Lunar eclipse takes place when a full Moon happens near a lunar node. About twice a year, the Moon in just the right position to pass through the Earth's shadow, causing a lunar eclipse. When the Moon passes into the central part of the Earth's shadow, umbra, it darkens dramatically. Once it is completely within the umbra, the Moon appears a dim red due to sunlight scattered through the Earth's atmosphere.

The Blood-red Moon

Even though Earth blocks sunlight from directly reaching the surface of the Moon during a total lunar eclipse, the Moon is still visible to the naked eye. This is because Earth's atmosphere bends sunlight and indirectly lights up the Moon's surface.The moon may turn red or coppery colored during the total portion of an eclipse.The red moon is possible when the moon is in total shadow, some light from the sun passes through Earth's atmosphere and is bent towards the surface of the fully eclipsed Moon, thus it illuminates with a reddish-orange glow. Because of this, a total lunar eclipse is sometimes called a Blood Moon.

How To Watch Lunar Eclipse?

Almost everyone on the night side of Earth can see a total eclipse of the Moon. Lunar eclipses are among the easiest skywatching events to observe. Simply go out, look up and enjoy. Unlike solar eclipses, observing a total lunar eclipse does not require any special equipment. Lunar eclipses are safe to see with the naked eye.

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