Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse

We are in the solar system which consists of eight planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune. We live in the planet “Earth”. All the planets orbit around the sun. Earth also orbits the sun, which is called as “Earth revolution”. A year completes when one revolution has been completed. Our planet is about a whopping 4.5 billion years old. And there is also the moon, the “earth’s friend” in basic terms. When the earth was being created, another planet crashed on our planet. The bits formed our moon and from there on, it is with us. Now, there are two eclipses. One is the solar eclipse and the other is lunar eclipse.

Now, lets do an experiment. Take a torch, a ping pong ball, and a tennis ball. Turn off the lights and turn on the torch. Place the torch on a stand or a table. The torch will be our sun, the ping pong ball our moon and the tennis ball our earth. Now move the moon around the earth and stop when it is between the earth and the sun. This is a solar eclipse. You shall see a shadow on the earth. There will be a lighter shadow and a darker shadow in the middle. The dark shadow is the umbra and the lighter shadow is the penumbra. Now, move the moon again and stop when the earth is between the moon and the sun. Now the earth will cast a shadow on the moon. This is lunar eclipse.

You can see that when the moon is in the penumbra shadow, it is a bit dimmer than usual and when it is in the umbra shadow, it is dark red. Why? This is because of the presence of sunlight in the earth’s atmosphere.

We get lunar eclipse twice every year and we get full moon and new moon every month. Both occurrences are connected to the same reason – i.e. the orbit of the moon around the earth. So why don’t we have lunar eclipse twice a month? Well the reason is that the moon’s orbit is tilted to some extent from earth’s orbit around the sun. Only twice a year, the tilt is fixed to go into the earth’s shadow.

There is a special lunar eclipse called a super-moon lunar eclipse, when the moon is slightly bigger. It last happened in 2015 and will happen next during 2023. So, get ready.

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