3.11: Lunar Eclipses
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Can you see a lunar eclipse?
Again, of course! Anyone with a view of the Moon can see a lunar eclipse. The next four total lunar eclipses predicted for North America will be on January 20, 2019, May 26, 2021, May 15, 2022, and November 8, 2022.
Sometimes a full moon moves through Earth's shadow. This is a lunar eclipse (Figure below). During a total lunar eclipse, the Moon travels completely in Earth’s umbra. During a partial lunar eclipse, only a portion of the Moon enters Earth’s umbra. When the Moon passes through Earth’s penumbra, it is a penumbral eclipse. Since Earth’s shadow is large, a lunar eclipse lasts for hours.
A lunar eclipse.
Partial lunar eclipses occur at least twice a year, but total lunar eclipses are less common. The Moon glows with a dull red coloring during a total lunar eclipse (Figure below).
A lunar eclipse is shown in a series of pictures.
Check out the video below for more information about the super blue moon which occurred on January 31, 2018 which had an added bonus of a lunar eclipse.
- During a lunar eclipse, the full moon moves through Earth's shadow.
- Earth's shadow is large so lunar eclipses last longer than solar eclipses. They cover more area too.
- The umbra is the part of the shadow in which light is completely blocked.
- The penumbra is the part of the shadow that is partially lit.
- What causes a lunar eclipse?
- Why are you more likely to see a lunar eclipse than a solar eclipse?
- When does a lunar eclipse occur?