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1.7.4. Eclipses

Sun eclipse

The solar eclipse occurs when the Moon comes between the Sun and the Earth, so the light from the Sun does not reach the Earth. The Sun can no longer be seen because the Moon has interposed.

According to the part of the solar disk that is covered by the lunar disk, it is distinguished:

  • Total eclipse. When the moon completely covers the sun. This phenomenon is quite rare, and is only seen in a certain area of ​​the Earth every 200 to 300 years. In nearby areas, this eclipse looks like a partial eclipse.
  • Partial eclipse. Only a part of the Sun is hidden.
  • Annular eclipse. It occurs when, due to the position of the Moon, it does not completely cover the solar disk and a ring of the solar disk is seen.

Eclipse solar total, parcial y anular.

By Fernando de Gorocica [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

Lunar eclipse

The lunar eclipses occur when the Earth passes between the Sun and the Moon. The shadow of the Earth is projected on the Moon, hiding the lunar disk.

For the lunar eclipse to occur, the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon have to be aligned so that the Earth blocks the solar rays, so lunar eclipses only occur in the full Moon phase.

Since the Earth is quite a bit larger than the Moon, it is easy for lunar eclipses to look like total eclipses from many parts of the world.


Now you have to think

For a lunar eclipse to occur, there must be a full moon, and for a solar eclipse to occur, there must be a new moon. Since we have a full and new moon every month, why isn't there a lunar eclipse and a solar eclipse every month?