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Phases of Moon: Lunar Eclipse

Last updated date: 18th Apr 2024
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An Overview of the Lunar Eclipse

A lunar eclipse is one of the most incredible attractions the night-time sky has to offer. As the Moon slides into Earth's shadow, the typically faded white moon is painted a deep colour of red, and it can continue to be that way for a long time. Lunar eclipses can be either partial or total, simply as solar eclipses are, and they solely appear at some stage in one segment of the moon: the full Moon.

What Is the Lunar Eclipse?

The lunar eclipse of the Moon is caused by Earth which completely blocks the direct Sun rays which reach the Moon, with the only light reflected from the lunar surface being refracted by Earth's atmosphere. This light appears reddish for the same reason that a sunset or sunrise does, which is explained by the Rayleigh scattering of blue light. Unlike a solar eclipse, which can only be seen from an exceptionally small place of the world, a lunar eclipse might also be considered from somewhere on the night time aspect of Earth.

The time of a lunar eclipse can last up to almost two hours, while a complete solar eclipse lasts only up to a few minutes at any given place, due to the fact the Moon's shadow is smaller. Also, in contrast to solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safer to view without any eye safety or specific precautions as they are dimmer than the full Moon.

What happens in a lunar eclipse? During a complete lunar eclipse, the lunar surface turns a rusty red colour, earning the nickname "blood moon".

Phases of Moon

Phases of Moon

Types of Lunar Eclipse

Earth's shadow can be divided into two special parts: the umbra and penumbra. The Earth completely stops direct solar radiation inside the umbra, the central area of the shadow. However, considering that the Sun's diametre seems about one-quarter of Earth's in the lunar sky, the planet only partially blocks direct daylight inside the penumbra, the outer element of the shadow.

There are two types of Lunar Eclipse. They are listed below:

  • Total Lunar Eclipse

  • Partial Lunar Eclipse

The Earth absorbs direct solar rays within the umbra and the central region of the shadow. However, since the diameter of the Sun occurs about one-fourth of Earth's in the Lunar calendar, the Earth partially blocks direct Sun rays within the penumbra whereas the outer portion of the shadow.

Lunar Eclipses

Lunar Eclipses

What is the Total Lunar Eclipse?

A total lunar eclipse happens when the Moon and Sun are on the opposite faces of the Earth. This happens when the Moon falls totally inside the Earth's umbra. This is when the Moon passes into Earth's umbral shadow, which may lead to the Moon turning red. The second the Moon enters a whole eclipse, the complete floor will come to be greater or much less uniformly bright.

What is a Partial Lunar Eclipse?

A partial lunar eclipse happens when the Earth moves between the Sun and Moon; however, the 3 celestial bodies don't form a line in space. When that happens, a little part of the Moon's surface is covered by the darkest, central part of the Earth's shadow, known as the umbra. The rest of the Moon is covered by the outer part of the Earth's shadow known as the penumbra.

Stages of a Partial Lunar Eclipse

  • Penumbral Eclipse Begins: The Earth's penumbra starts covering the Moon's surface.

  • Partial Eclipse Begins: The Earth's shadow starts moving over the Moon.

  • Maximum Eclipse: The Earth's umbra covers the biggest part of the Moon.

  • Partial Eclipse Ends: The Earth's umbra does not cover the Moon.

  • Penumbral Eclipse Ends: The Earth no longer casts a shadow on the Moon.

Total Lunar Eclipse Blood Moon

Certain lunar eclipses are stated as "blood moons" in notable articles; however, this is often no longer a scientifically recognised term. The Moon turns red throughout an eclipse because of how the Sun's rays interact with Earth's atmosphere. Since it hits the atmosphere, shorter wavelengths of light like the colour blue are scattered outwards. Longer wavelengths like red, however, are bent or refracted into Earth's umbra. Once these strike the surface of the Moon, they can make it appear red - the same process to how the sky seems red during a sunrise or sunset.

Difference Between Solar and Lunar Eclipse

The differences between the solar eclipse and lunar eclipse are listed in the following table.

Solar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse

Sun blocks the moon, it sooner or later blocks the daylight from falling on earth.

Moon becomes dim when it passes through earth's shadow, blocking the daylight from falling on the moon.

Maximum duration of a solar eclipse is 5 to 7 minutes.

A lunar eclipse lasts a few hours.

When the Moon entirely covers the Sun, and its umbra and penumbra are casted on Earth, then it is referred to as the whole solar eclipse.

When the earth definitely covers the Moon and blocks the Moon from attaining the Moon, it is referred to as the whole lunar eclipse.

Important Questions

1. The Moon orbits the Earth in _____.

  1. 27.32 days

  2. 27.53 days

  3. 33.33 days

  4. 53.06 days

Answer: a) 27.32 days

Explanation: The Moon takes 27.32 days to go around the Earth.

2. How is the lunar eclipse classified?

Answer: The lunar eclipse is classified into a total lunar eclipse, partial lunar eclipse, and penumbral lunar eclipse.

3. How many solar eclipses can be seen in a year?

Answer: Solar eclipses occur twice to five times a year.


Lunar eclipses are more simply observed than solar eclipses, as they'll be viewed with the unaided eye by any observer located where the Moon is above the horizon. A lunar eclipse is caused by Earth blocking daylight from reaching the Moon and creating a shadow across the lunar surface. The sun-blocking Earth forms 2 shawods that fall on the Moon throughout a lunar eclipse: the umbra could be a full, dark shadow, and the penumbra could be a partial outer shadow.

FAQs on Phases of Moon: Lunar Eclipse

1. Can a lunar eclipse occur during the day?

Normally, it's impracticable that a lunar eclipse occurs during daylight. During an eclipse, the Sun and the Moon are just about exactly opposite. Thus, if one is on top of the horizon, the other should be below the horizon. So, both can't be visible at the same time. One may see the body of the earth blocking the view. Only under very special circumstances will both objects be visible when they are opposite to each other. At this point for example, both touch the horizon at identical times. One rises when the other sets.

2. What should we do during a lunar eclipse?

Try to minimise the light in your vicinity and, ideally, watch from a spot wherever your line of sight will not be clogged by tall buildings or trees. A lunar eclipse can last several hours, however, the amount of totality - once the Moon is completely in Earth's shadow - typically only lasts an hour or so. The good factor concerning all types of lunar eclipse is that, in contrast to a solar eclipse, they're safe to look at with the naked eye. This is because lunar eclipses only replicate daylight - they do not get any brighter than a full phase of the Moon, which you have probably safely observed over and over before.

3. Why isn’t there a lunar eclipse every month?

A lunar eclipse only happens during a full phase of the Moon, once the Sun, Earth, and Moon are all aligned. However, despite the Moon only taking 29.5 days to orbit Earth and complete a cycle from full moon to full moon, there are only on average about 3 lunar eclipses once a year. This is because the Moon's orbit around Earth isn't in a flat plane - it's angular  at about 5 degrees, which implies that the Moon usually goes above or below Earth's shadow as it orbits around. As a result, lunar eclipses tend to come in batches once the Moon is at an analogous inclination.