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Cyclic Patterns of Eclipses: Solar Eclipse and Lunar Eclipse

Class 7
Jun 15, 2023

Cyclic Patterns of Eclipses


Solar Eclipse and Lunar Eclipse

When an object in space, such as a planet or the Moon, moves through the shadow of another object in space, an eclipse occurs. In other words, when a moon or planet blocks the Sun’s light or Moon’s brightness, an eclipse occurs.

The two largest celestial objects in our sky, the Sun and the Moon undergo a dramatic change in appearance during an eclipse, an amazing cosmic phenomenon. When Earth, the Moon, and the Sun are along a line, both lunar and solar eclipses can be seen on Earth.


A solar eclipse takes place when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth.


Solar eclipse

The Moon thus creates a shadow on the Earth by preventing the Sun’s light from reaching its surface. This happens during the new moon phase.

The phases of the moon

The sort of shadow involved determines the type of eclipse we will experience.

Solar eclipse


Lunar eclipse

Three types of shadows are cast by the Moon and Earth: an umbra, a penumbra, and an ant umbra.

Solar eclipse and types of shadows

A shadow’s dark center is known as the umbra.

Since the object blocks all direct light rays, if you are standing inside the umbra, you won’t be able to view any part of the light source.

Solar eclipse

When an item just partially hides a light source, the result is a half-shadow known as the penumbra.

The lighter area of the shadow that starts where the umbra stops are known as the ant umbra.

Different Types of Solar Eclipses:

There are four different forms of eclipses: total, partial, annual, and hybrid.

Types of Solar eclipse

Total Eclipse:

This happens when the Sun is completely hidden from view. The Moon’s shadow, which is framed by the Sun’s corona (the super-heated plasma extending from the Sun), takes the place of the Sun’s bright light. It looks like a diamond ring.

Types of solar eclipse

Annular Eclipse:

When the Sun and Moon are exactly aligned, an annular eclipse takes place, but the Moon appears smaller than the Sun. The Sun appears as a brilliant ring around the Moon during an annular eclipse.

Partial Eclipse:

When the Sun and Moon are partially out of alignment, and the Sun is partially hidden, a partial eclipse takes place.

Hybrid Eclipse:

A hybrid eclipse occurs when a total eclipse transitions into an annular eclipse or vice versa along different regions of the eclipse’s path. It is a combination of total and annular eclipses.

Hybrid eclipse

A hybrid eclipse is a rare type of solar eclipse that changes its appearance as the Moon’s shadow moves across the Earth’s surface.

Lunar Eclipse:

When the Moon enters Earth’s penumbra, a lunar eclipse starts. The figure illustrates what happens when the Moon enters Earth’s umbra and casts a curved shadow on its surface.

Aristotle concluded that the Earth is round because of this shadow. A total lunar eclipse happens when the Moon completely enters the umbra of the Earth, as seen in the Figure below.

Lunar eclipse

Earth’s shadow on the Moon during a lunar eclipse

The atmosphere of Earth causes light from the Sun to be refracted and scattered, which can cause the Moon to turn red during an eclipse. More red light falls on the Moon because red light has longer wavelengths; it is less influenced than other color light with a shorter wavelength.

Different Types of Lunar Eclipses:

There are three different types of lunar eclipses:

  • A total lunar eclipse
  • Partial lunar eclipse
  • Penumbral lunar eclipse

Different types of lunar eclipses

Total Lunar Eclipse:

A total lunar eclipse happens when the entire surface of the Moon is hidden by Earth’s umbra, the dark, central portion of its shadow.

Total of Lunar eclipse

Partial Lunar Eclipse:

When only a portion of the Moon’s surface is covered by Earth’s umbra, a partial lunar eclipse can be seen.

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse:

A penumbral lunar eclipse takes place when the Moon passes through the penumbral region of the Earth’s shadow.

Eclipse Safety Measures:

You must always wear safe solar viewing glasses (eclipse glasses) if you want to face the Sun while observing a partial solar eclipse or annular solar eclipse. Conventional sunglasses are unsafe for seeing the Sun; eclipse glasses are NOT regular sunglasses.

Eclipse Safety Measures

Eclipse Safety Measures

Why Put on Eclipse Glasses?

Eclipse glasses shield your eyes from the Sun’s intense rays when the Sun is eclipsed.

Never observe a solar eclipse without taking the necessary precautions. Only during the brief period of a total solar eclipse can they be removed. During a solar eclipse, whether total or partial, you can never take them off. Your eyes may become damaged by harmful radiation if you stare at the Sun during a solar eclipse.


What are the differences between the Solar and Lunar eclipses?



Solar Eclipse and Lunar Eclipse


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