What is a lunar eclipse?


A lunar eclipse is one the most spectacular sights the night sky has to offer. As the moon slides into Earth’s shadow, the usually pale white moon is painted a deep shade of red, and it can stay that way for a long time. 

Lunar eclipses can be either partial or total, just as solar eclipses are, and they only happen during one phase of the moon: the full moon.

What is a lunar eclipse?

During a total lunar eclipse, the moon falls directly into Earth's dark shadow.

During a total lunar eclipse, the moon falls directly into Earth’s dark shadow. (Image credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio)

Unlike a solar eclipse, where the moon falls between Earth and the sun,”lunar eclipses happen when the moon passes directly behind the Earth and into the Earth’s shadow,” Dhara Patel, a space expert at the United Kingdom’s National Space Centre in Leicester, told Live Science. “That means they always happen at full moon,” Patel said (a full moon occurs when the moon is on the opposite side of Earth to the sun).

Why is a lunar eclipse red?

This composite image shows the moon during a lunar eclipse in Tokyo on Jan. 31, 2018. The large crimson moon was viewable in many corners of the globe.

This composite image shows the moon during a lunar eclipse in Tokyo on Jan. 31, 2018.  (Image credit: KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)

If the moon is in Earth’s shadow, then our planet is blocking sunlight from directly reaching the lunar surface. It would be natural to think that we wouldn’t be able to see the moon at all during this time. “But, because the Earth has an atmosphere, red light ends up being bent round onto the moon,” Patel said, “so that’s why lunar eclipses tend to have that blood red color.” 



Source link

By GIL