What is a lunar eclipse? When does it occur?

Space ScienceSolar SystemGeneral TopicsHeavenly Bodies

An Eclipse is formed when a celestial body is obscured by another. We know that eclipses occur when sun, moon and earth align in a straight line. The Solar eclipse occurs when the moon comes in between the sun and the earth. The Lunar eclipse is formed when the earth blocks the way for the sunlight to reach the moon.

The umbra is the innermost and darkest part of the shadow, which is the area when an observer can experience the eclipse completely. The Penumbra is the area in which only a portion of the light is obscured by the occluding body. The antumbra is the region where an observer senses the occluding body appears to be present completely within the light source.

Formation of Lunar Eclipse

The Lunar Eclipse occurs when the Earth, the Sun and the Moon come in a straight line. The Earth should come in-between the Sun and the Moon, while the Moon should be there in the shadow of the Earth which is called as Umbra. In this position, there won’t be any sunlight falling onto the Moon which is a non-luminous body and hence can’t glow on its own. As Moon presents in the darkness, that portion of the moon will have an eclipse. If the moon gets completely into the Earth’s shadow, then a complete Lunar eclipse occurs.

Types of Lunar Eclipses

There are three kinds of Lunar Eclipses. They are

  • Total Lunar Eclipse: This occurs when the earth’s umbra will be able to darken the whole of the moon’s area so that the moon becomes completely invisible.

  • Partial Lunar Eclipse: This occurs when earth’s umbra is able to cover the moon’s area partially.

  • Penumbral Lunar Eclipse: This occurs when the moon travels through the faint penumbral portion of earth’s shadow.

Published on 23-Jan-2019 11:21:40