Fundamentals of Solar and Lunar Eclipses

An eclipse occurs when a celestial body passes into the shadow of a different celestial body. The earth, its sun, and its moon created two types of eclipses: solar and lunar. Solar eclipses occur when the moon passes between the earth and the sun. Lunar eclipses occur when the earth passes between the sun and the moon. Fig. 1 depicts these occurances.

Fig. 1. Lunar and Solar eclipses.

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Fig. 2. Lunar Eclipse.

Lunar Eclipses

There are three types of lunar eclipses: total, partial, and penumbral.

1 – A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon is completely engulfed by the earth’s umbral shadow.

2 – Partial lunar eclipses occur when only part of the moon is covered by earth’s umbral shadow.

3 – Penumbral lunar eclipses occur when the moon is completely engulfed by earth’s penumbral shadow and has no part touching the umbral shadow.

Fig. 3 shows a diagram of the three types of lunar eclipses.

Fig. 3. Lunar eclipses.

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Fig. 4. Solar eclipse.

Solar Eclipses

There are three types of solar eclipses: total, annular, and partial.

1 – Total solar eclipses occur when the earth and the sun are on exact opposite sides of the moon.

2 – Annular eclipses occur when the moon is at its farthest point away from the earth and it passes directly between the earth and the sun.

3 – Partial solar eclipses occur when the moon is not directly between the earth and the sun, but between it enough to obscure the view of the sun from earth.

Fig. 5 shows a diagram of the three types of solar eclipses.

Fig. 5. Solar eclipses.

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References;

1 – https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/5-8/features/nasa-knows/what-is-an-eclipse-58

2 – https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/what-is-a-penumbral-eclipse-of-the-moon

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