How does a lunar eclipse occur?

And lunar eclipse It is a beautiful astronomical phenomenon Earth, Moon and Sun They are aligned in space so that Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon, partially or completely blocking sunlight from reaching Earth’s only natural satellite. Impressive show In the night sky.

To understand how a lunar eclipse occurs, it is necessary to take it into account positions and orbits (or motions) of the Earth, Moon and Sun in space. The moon revolves around the earth a Elliptical path, and the Earth orbits the Sun in the same way. when Three celestial bodies are aligned in a certain way, a lunar eclipse occurs.

Only with full moon

Occurs only when there is a lunar eclipse Full moon phase, that is, when the illuminated side of the Moon is opposite the Sun in the sky. When the moon is full, sunlight completely illuminates the side of the moon that faces Earth, creating a spectacular sight in the night sky. However, during a lunar eclipse, sunlight is partially or completely blocked due to Earth’s shadow. A partial or total eclipse of the Moon.

There are different types of lunar eclipses including penumbral, partial and total eclipses, And each has its own unique training process.

1-. Penumbral Lunar Eclipse: Occurs when the Moon passes through the penumbra, the outer part of Earth’s shadow. The Earth’s penumbra is the inner part of the Earth’s shadow and is less dark than the umbra, the darkest part. During a penumbral eclipse, the Moon only passes through the penumbra, resulting in a subtle dimming of its brightness.

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Umbra and Penumbra

The formation process of a penumbral lunar eclipse begins when the Moon moves in its elliptical orbit in the Earth’s shadow. As the Moon enters twilight, sunlight gradually fades, causing the Moon to dim slightly.

However, since the Earth’s penumbra is not completely dark, the Moon dims during a penumbral eclipse It is difficult to detect with the naked eye.

2-. Partial Lunar Eclipse: One part of the moon becomes dark while another part is illuminated.

3-. Total Lunar Eclipse: The Moon passes completely through the Earth’s umbra, resulting in total darkness of the Moon.


For a lunar eclipse to occur, apart from the full moon already mentioned, two conditions must be met.

  1. The Moon must be close to Earth’s orbital plane so that it can pass through its shadow.

  2. The Earth and the Moon should be aligned so that the Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon.

The duration of a lunar eclipse varies: from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the relative position of the three celestial bodies.

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