Solar and Lunar Eclipses
1. Explain the eclipses of the Moon and Sun.
There are basically two types of eclipse, one is the eclipse of the moon and the second one is the eclipse of the sun. Before going towards the details into each, it is important to understand the concept of the eclipse. It will help in understanding better about the eclipses of the Moon and the Sun. In simple words, eclipse can be defined when an object in between you and the other object creating a trouble in your view. We are living on the planet earth. There are two types of eclipses that we have been experiencing aforementioned. One is the eclipse of the Moon and the other one is the eclipse of the Sun.
i. Eclipse of the Moon
We know that the Earth revolves around the sun and the moon revolves around the earth. There are times when the earth while revolving around the sun, comes in between the moon and the sun. In this way, earth blocks the sight of the sun creating a shadow of itself on the moon. This is called the eclipse of the moon. Moreover, it is also known as Lunar Eclipse.
ii. Eclipse of the Sun
We know that the Moon revolves around the earth when the moon comes between the earth and the sun, then it creates a shadow on the earth by blocking the light of the sun. It is known as the eclipse of the moon or Solar Eclipse. There are further three types of a solar eclipse, total, partial and annular. When the moon completely blocks the view of sun it is called total eclipse and is visible only 150km of the earth. When the moon covers the partial view of the sun is called a partial eclipse. When the moon is at the great distance from the earth then the eclipse is called an annular eclipse.
2. How often do eclipses occur?
It is clear that the moon revolves around the earth, and the earth revolves around the sun. There are times when three of them are found in a line, then the eclipses. Either it can be a solar eclipse or the lunar eclipse, depending upon who is creating a shadow on the other. The moon completed its one revolution around the earth in one month, but it does not mean that the eclipse may happen after every month. There are certain times when there are chances that moon will become in between the sun and earth in single straight line. It is also clear that solar eclipse happens when there is a new moon and it comes in line with the earth and the sun. On the other hand, the lunar eclipse happens on the full moon, when the earth creates a shadow on the moon. Now when we talk about the number that happens every year then we will be talking about by the combination of both lunar and the solar. However, there are only chances about the number that may happen each year. There are chances that there may be seven eclipses each year. These eclipses are some of the solar and lunar. Only in 1935, there were five eclipses, four of them were the partial eclipses while only one was the annular eclipse. Talking about these eclipses separately, there are at least two solar eclipses each year. These two eclipses are partial ones. On the other hand, there are also at least two lunar eclipses each year. These lunar eclipses are mostly penumbral, in which the moon does not seem to totally darken. The number of the eclipses and their kinds depends on the line of interaction between the earth, moon and the sun.
3. When is the next eclipse?
As we have discussed earlier the solar and the lunar eclipses in detail, now we will talk about the next eclipses that will be happening most recently in this year. As there are almost 4 eclipses each year, two of them are the solar eclipses and the remaining two are the lunar eclipses. However, the type of eclipse either it will be partial, total or annular depends on the line of the interaction between them. This information is not like something that cannot be found easily. We can know the dates of the eclipses and their location where the eclipse can be seen clearly as well.
First, we will talk about the next lunar eclipse that is going to happen on 15th April of 2014. This lunar eclipse will be visible in North America. The nature of this lunar eclipse will be of penumbra and will last for 6 hours and 13 minutes. On the other hand, the next solar eclipse will happen on 29th April 2014. However this eclipse will not be visible from North America, it will be visible from Australia and Antarctica.
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Astro. (2014, 2 18). How does a solar eclipse happen? Retrieved from Astro: http://astro.ukho.gov.uk/old/eclipses_how.htm
CliffNotes. (2014, 2 18). How often does an eclipse happen? . Retrieved from CliffNotes: http://www.cliffsnotes.com/cliffsnotes/sciences/how-often-does-an-eclipse-happen
Starchild. (2014, 2 18). What is an eclipse? Retrieved from Starchild: http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/questions/question6.html
TimeandDate. (2014, 2 18). What this lunar eclipse looks like. Retrieved from TimeandDate: http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/lunar/2014-april-15