United Nations lunar eclipse is a beautiful astronomical phenomenon that occurs when the Earth, moon and sun are aligned in space in such a way that Earth’s shadow falls on the moon, partially or completely blocking sunlight from reaching Earth’s only natural satellite and creating a awesome show in the night sky.

To understand how a lunar eclipse occurs, it is important to take into account the positions and orbits (or movements) of the Earth, moon, and sun in space. The moon orbits the Earth in a elliptical trajectory, and the Earth orbits the sun in a similar way. When the three celestial bodies are aligned in a particular way, a lunar eclipse occurs.

only with full moon

A lunar eclipse can only be realized during the full moon phase, that is, when the illuminated side of the moon is opposite the sun in the sky. When there is a full moon, sunlight fully illuminates the Earth-facing side of the moon, creating a brilliant spectacle in the night sky. However, during a lunar eclipse, sunlight is partially or totally blocked by Earth’s shadow, resulting in a partial or total obscuration of the moon.

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

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

umbra and penumbra

The process of forming a penumbral lunar eclipse begins when the Moon moves into the Earth’s shadow in its elliptical orbit. As the moon enters penumbra, the sunlight shining on it gradually dims, causing the moon to darken slightly.

However, because Earth’s penumbra is not completely dark, dimming of the Moon during a penumbral eclipse can be hard to spot with the naked eye.

2-. Partial Lunar Eclipse: A part of the moon is darkened, while another part remains illuminated.

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

Requirements

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

  1. The moon must be close enough to Earth’s orbital plane for it to pass through its shadow.

  2. Earth and the moon must be aligned so that Earth’s shadow falls on the moon.

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