lunar eclipse



We explain what a lunar eclipse is, how and when this phenomenon occurs. Also, the types that exist and what a solar eclipse looks like.

For a lunar eclipse to occur, there must be a full moon.

What is the lunar eclipse?

Eclipses, both lunar and solar, are astronomical events that occur from time to time. In the case of the lunar eclipse, theEarth stands between the Moon and the Sun and the three celestial bodies remain aligned for a time in that order. Thus, for a few minutes, it is the Earth that overshadows the moon, and not the other way around. For this to happen, in addition to alignment, the moon must be full.

Instead, a solar eclipse It occurs when the moon is interposed between the sun and the Earth, which causes that, from our planet, the sun is covered. In this case, the moon must be new and the three heavenly bodies must also be aligned.

According to experts, each year, one to four, five or up to six lunar eclipses are recorded.

How does a lunar eclipse occur?

In a lunar eclipse, the shadow of the Earth advances, covering the lunar surface.

As previously explained, a phenomenon such as the lunar eclipse occurs when the full moon is covered by the shadow generated by the planet Earth. Is that there is a fact that is worth clarifying: it is thanks to the sunlight that from our planet we can see the moon.

That is why when there is a lunar eclipse, we see how the shadow of the Earth begins to advance, covering the lunar surface. Within that shadow, two different parts are spoken of: the penumbra and the umbra. While the latter is the area of ​​the moon that is completely covered under the shadow –and therefore imperceptible-, in the case of semi-darkness the shadow is more tenuous.

How often does a lunar eclipse occur?

Although the moon revolves around the Earth every month, lunar eclipses do not occur 12 times a year. The explanation is simple: the path that the moon makes around the planet is inclined about five degrees, when compared to the path that the Earth makes around the sun. This means that the moon is not always reached by the earth's shadow.

The moon can be behind the Earth and still receive sunlight. That is why everything will depend on where on Earth the person is at that time: it must be in the middle of the planet that is at night. Otherwise, it will not record it.

That is why, although lunar eclipses are events that occur one to four, five or even six times in a year, several eclipses can be seen from the same place on the planet, as long as they occur at night. This is different from what happens with solar eclipses that, according to NASA, can be seen, from the same place, once every 375 years, on average.

Types of lunar eclipse

A penumbral eclipse happens when the moon just passes through the twilight area.

According toproportion in which the shadow of the Earth is projected on the surface of the moon, in addition to the part (umbra or penumbra) reaches it, different types of lunar eclipses can be identified:

  • Total eclipse. In this case, the shadow of the Earth manages to cover the entire surface of the moon.
  • Penumbral eclipse. This event happens when the moon just passes the penumbra area - and not the umbra. That is why this event becomes more imperceptible. Within the penumbral eclipse there are two subtypes. The total, which is when the entire surface of the moon is covered by darkness, while, in the partial, only a part of the moon. In a year, it is estimated that one in three eclipses are of this type.
  • Partial eclipse. This event is recorded when only a portion of the surface is reached by the umbra.

solar eclipse

Seeing a solar eclipse is quite a challenge.

Conversely, the solar eclipse develops when the moon hides the sun. When does this happen? When the moon is between the Earth and the sun in an aligned way.

There is talk of a total solar eclipse when the lunar shadow manages to cover the entire surface. This phenomenon does not last more than a couple of minutes. While, the partial solar eclipse is when the lunar shadow fails to cover the entire surface. That is why a fragment of it can be seen from Earth, bright.

The annular solar eclipse, on the other hand, is when the moon and the sun are aligned, but, as the latter is smaller, a kind of ring of light. Finally, there are those who speak of the hybrid solar eclipse, which is when, from certain angles of the land surface it is seen as annular, while, from other angles, as total.

Total solar eclipses are recorded every 500 days, that is, approximately every year and a half. While the partial ones are more frequent: two a year, on average.

Unlike lunar eclipses, seeing a solar one is quite a challenge. It is that there are two, at least, the conditions that must be met. On the one hand, the person who wants to see it must be somewhere on the planet from which the path of the moon is located. On the other hand, it has to be daytime in the place where person It is at the moment when the three celestial bodies align.

It is important that, when wanting to appreciate a phenomenon like this, you should not look directly at the sun, because it can damage your eyesight. Instead, filters or different techniques can be used to appreciate them. Or else, using different projection techniques suggested by specialists.

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