Understanding the Differences Between a Solar Eclipse and Lunar Eclipse

Understanding the Differences Between a Solar Eclipse and Lunar Eclipse
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Solar Eclipse vs Lunar Eclipse: Differences Explained

The sun is a source of light, but the earth and moon are not. When sunlight falls on the earth or moon, do they also cast a shadow? Can we see these shadows?

The answer to both the questions is yes.

Formation of eclipses is based on the principal of rectilinearpropagation.

Eclipse meaning: An obscuring of the light from one celestial body by the passage of another between it and the observer or between it and its source of illumination.

Eclipses are the shadows formed in nature.

Sometimes the moon and the earth also cast shadows on each other. This happen when the sun, moon and the earth align in a straight line

What is lunar eclipse?

In a lunar eclipse, the shadow of the earth falls on the moon. When the sun, the earth and the moon come in a straight line, with earth in the middle, the shadow of the earth falls on the moon.

 What is total lunar eclipse or eclipse of the moon?

Total lunar eclipse occurs when the earth comes in between the sun and the moon. The earth covers the moon with its shadow; we observe a total lunar eclipse.  

The Moon's average orbital speed is about 1.03 km/s (2,300 mph), or a little more than its diameter per hour, so totality may last up to nearly 107 minutes.

Partial lunar eclipse

partial lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth moves between the Sun and Moon but the three celestial bodies do not form a straight line in space. When that happens, a small part of the Moon's surface is covered by the darkest, central part of the Earth's shadow, called the umbra.

Notice that when a lunar eclipse occurs, its bright side faces the earth. That is, a lunar eclipse occurs on a full moon day.


Solar eclipse or eclipse of the sun

We all know that sun provides us light. We also know that the earth revolves around the sun while the moon revolves around the earth. Occasionally, the moon comes in between the sun and the earth.

 On this occasionally, if the sun, moon and earth are in a straight line, the moon very briefly blocks the light of the sun from reaching earth. In other words, the moon casts its shadow on the earth. This phenomenon is known as solar eclipse.


What is total solar eclipse?

Total solar eclipses occur when the New Moon comes between the Sun and Earth and casts the darkest part of its shadow, the umbra, on Earth. A full solar eclipse, known as totality, is almost as dark as night.


Partial solar eclipse

Partial solar eclipse happens when the Moon comes between the Sun and Earth, but the Moon only partially covers the Sun's disk. Sometimes, the Moon covers only a tiny part of the Sun's disk. Other times a partial eclipse looks almost like a total eclipse.