Lunar Eclipse: Facts About This Amazing Astronomical Event

What is a lunar eclipse?

A lunar eclipse happens when the Moon moves into the Earth’s shadow and this causes the Moon to be darkened.

It occurs approximately every six months, during the full moon phase. This is when the Moon’s orbital plane is closest to the plane of the Earth’s orbit. Here are some amazing facts about this astronomical event, based on the article in Treehugger.

There are three types of lunar eclipses. It could be total, partial, or penumbral. The term total eclipse is used when the shadow of the Earth fully covers the moon while it is called partial eclipse when the Earth’s shadow covers just a portion of the moon. 

lunar eclipse

The penumbral eclipse happens when the Earth’s lighter outer shadow (penumbra) covers the moon. When the total lunar eclipse is happening, the moon will go through partial eclipses on either side of the totality. The totality is the term used to describe when the mon is completely darkened.

Syzygy is the term called when the Earth, Sun, and Moon align. Pronounced as “sizigee,” it is actually the term used to call any three bodies lined up in space. It is from the Greek word “syzgia,” which means “yoked together.” 

A blood moon happens when the moon looks reddish during an eclipse. It is because of the way light is refracted in the Earth’s atmosphere and this is called Rayleigh scattering. This is the same reason why sunsets and sunrises are reddish.

A lunar eclipse cannot last longer than 3 hours and 40 minutes while the totality is for up to 1 hour and 40 minutes and some even shorter.

The fact that the moon moves away from the Earth at a rate of 1.6 inches each year is the reason why the appearance of the eclipse will change eventually. This factor will change the way the Earth’s shadow appears on the face of the moon.

Here is a video from Video From Space.

Meanwhile, netizens shared the wonderful solar eclipse caught on camera.

Leave a comment