Lunar vs. Solar Eclipse

Difference Between Lunar and Solar Eclipse

Lunar eclipse and solar eclipse are two natural phenomena in our solar system, which are visible to us with our naked eyes. These two phenomena are very different from each other and are caused by different positions of the celestial bodies.

The main concept to understand is that eclipses occur because of the revolution of the moon around the earth. In the course of this revolution, there are times when the moon’s shadow falls on the earth and causes darkness in that particular area.

When the moon passes directly between the sun and the earth, it hides the sun behind it and throws a shade on the earth. When these three heavenly bodies are in perfect alignment, the sky darkens for some minutes during the day. During this kind of eclipse, people in that part of the earth see a dark round patch in the sky. This phenomenon is a called a total eclipse of the sun or solar eclipse.

To understand the way lunar eclipse occurs, it is necessary to understand the nature of the moon. The moon does not issue light of own. It reflects the light of the sun. As the moon revolves around the earth, we see different parts of the surface of the moon as it is lighted by the sunlight. That is why the shape of the moon appears to change throughout the month. Since the moon takes a month to move around the earth, the changes in the shape of the moon is repeated every month, more or less in the same sequence. These are called the phases of the moon.

The earth turns around the sun while the moon turns around the earth in a slightly tilted angle. In the course of their revolutions, when the sun, the earth and the moon enter in a perfect straight line on the same plane, with the earth between the sun and the moon, the shade of the earth falls on the moon. It means that the light of the sun does not fall on the moon at this point. That portion of the moon where the light of the sun does not reach is in total darkness. This causes lunar eclipse. Lunar eclipse can be total or partial depending on the relative positioning of the earth and the moon.


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