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A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon
Moon
passes directly behind Earth
Earth
and into its shadow. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and the Moon are aligned (in syzygy) exactly or very closely so, with the planet in between. Hence, a lunar eclipse can occur only on the night of a full moon. The type and length of an eclipse depend on the Moon's proximity to either node of its orbit. During a total lunar eclipse, Earth
Earth
completely blocks direct sunlight from reaching the Moon. The only light reflected from the lunar surface has been refracted by Earth's atmosphere. This light appears reddish for the same reason that a sunset or sunrise does: the Rayleigh scattering
Rayleigh scattering
of bluer light. Due to this reddish color, a totally eclipsed Moon
Moon
is sometimes called a blood moon. Unlike a solar eclipse, which can be viewed only from a certain relatively small area of the world, a lunar eclipse may be viewed from anywhere on the night side of Earth. A total lunar eclipse lasts a few hours, whereas a total solar eclipse lasts only a few minutes as viewed from any given place, due to the smaller size of the Moon's shadow. Also unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safe to view without any eye protection or special precautions, as they are dimmer than the full Moon. For the date of the next eclipse, see the section Recent and forthcoming lunar eclipses.

Contents

1 Types of lunar eclipse

1.1 Selenelion

2 Timing 3 Danjon scale 4 Lunar versus solar eclipse

4.1 Lunar eclipse
Lunar eclipse
appearance

5 Lunar eclipse
Lunar eclipse
in culture

5.1 Incans 5.2 Mesopotamians 5.3 Chinese

6 Blood moon 7 Occurrence

7.1 Recent and forthcoming lunar eclipses

8 See also 9 References 10 Further reading 11 External links

Types of lunar eclipse

A schematic diagram of the shadow cast by Earth. Within the umbra, the central region, the planet totally shields direct sunlight. In contrast, within the penumbra, the outer portion, the sunlight is only partially blocked. (Neither the Sun, Moon, and Earth
Earth
sizes nor the distances between the bodies are to scale.)

A total penumbral lunar eclipse dims the Moon
Moon
in direct proportion to the area of the Sun's disk covered by Earth. This comparison of the Moon
Moon
(within the southern part of Earth's shadow) during the penumbral lunar eclipse of January 1999 (left) and the Moon
Moon
outside the shadow (right) shows this slight darkening.

Earth's shadow
Earth's shadow
can be divided into two distinctive parts: the umbra and penumbra. Earth
Earth
totally occludes direct solar radiation within the umbra, the central region of the shadow. However, since the Sun's diameter appears about one-quarter of Earth's in the lunar sky, the planet only partially blocks direct sunlight within the penumbra, the outer portion of the shadow. A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon
Moon
passes through Earth's penumbra. The penumbra causes a subtle dimming of the lunar surface. A special type of penumbral eclipse is a total penumbral lunar eclipse, during which the Moon
Moon
lies exclusively within Earth's penumbra. Total penumbral eclipses are rare, and when these occur, the portion of the Moon
Moon
closest to the umbra may appear slightly darker than the rest of the lunar disk. A partial lunar eclipse occurs when only a portion of the Moon
Moon
enters Earth's umbra, while a total lunar eclipse occurs when the entire Moon enters the planet's umbra. The Moon's average orbital speed is about 2,300 mph (1.03 km/s), or a little more than its diameter per hour, so totality may last up to nearly 107 minutes. Nevertheless, the total time between the first and the last contacts of the Moon's limb with Earth's shadow
Earth's shadow
is much longer and could last up to four hours.[1] The relative distance of the Moon
Moon
from Earth
Earth
at the time of an eclipse can affect the eclipse's duration. In particular, when the Moon
Moon
is near apogee,the farthest point from Earth
Earth
in its orbit, its orbital speed is the slowest. The diameter of Earth's umbra does not decrease appreciably within the changes in the Moon's orbital distance. Thus, the concurrence of a totally eclipsed Moon
Moon
near apogee will lengthen the duration of totality. A central lunar eclipse is a total lunar eclipse during which the Moon passes through the centre of Earth's shadow, contacting the antisolar point. This type of lunar eclipse is relatively rare.

Selenelion

A view of the October 2014 lunar eclipse
October 2014 lunar eclipse
from Minneapolis, with the setting and partially eclipsed Moon
Moon
appearing squashed just above the horizon just after sunrise (seen as sunlight shining on the tree in the right image)

A selenelion or selenehelion occurs when both the Sun
Sun
and an eclipsed Moon
Moon
can be observed at the same time. This can occur only just before sunset or just after sunrise, when both bodies will appear just above the horizon at nearly opposite points in the sky. This arrangement has led to the phenomenon being also called a horizontal eclipse. Typically, a number of high ridges undergoing sunrise or sunset can view it. Although the Moon
Moon
is in Earth's umbra, both the Sun
Sun
and an eclipsed Moon
Moon
can be simultaneously seen because atmospheric refraction causes each body to appear higher in the sky than their true geometric positions.[2] Timing

As viewed from Earth, the Earth’s shadow can be imagined as two concentric circles. As the diagram illustrates, the type of lunar eclipse is defined by the path taken by the Moon
Moon
as it passes through Earth’s shadow. If the moon passes through the outer circle but does not reach the inner circle, it is a penumbral eclipse; if only a portion of the moon passes through the inner circle, it is a partial eclipse; and if entire Moon
Moon
passes through the inner circle at some point, it is a total eclipse.

Contact points relative to the Earth's umbral and penumbral shadows, here with the Moon
Moon
near is descending node

The timing of total lunar eclipses are determined by its contacts:[3]

P1 (First contact): Beginning of the penumbral eclipse. Earth's penumbra touches the Moon's outer limb. U1 (Second contact): Beginning of the partial eclipse. Earth's umbra touches the Moon's outer limb. U2 (Third contact): Beginning of the total eclipse. The Moon's surface is entirely within Earth's umbra. Greatest eclipse: The peak stage of the total eclipse. The Moon
Moon
is at its closest to the center of Earth's umbra. U3 (Fourth contact): End of the total eclipse. The Moon's outer limb exits Earth's umbra. U4 (Fifth contact): End of the partial eclipse. Earth's umbra leaves the Moon's surface. P4 (Sixth contact): End of the penumbral eclipse. Earth's penumbra no longer makes contact with the Moon.

Danjon scale The following scale (the Danjon scale) was devised by André Danjon for rating the overall darkness of lunar eclipses:[4]

L=0: Very dark eclipse. Moon
Moon
almost invisible, especially at mid-totality. L=1: Dark eclipse, gray or brownish in coloration. Details distinguishable only with difficulty. L=2: Deep red or rust-colored eclipse. Very dark central shadow, while outer edge of umbra is relatively bright. L=3: Brick-red eclipse. Umbral shadow usually has a bright or yellow rim. L=4: Very bright copper-red or orange eclipse. Umbral shadow is bluish and has a very bright rim.

Lunar versus solar eclipse

A solar eclipse occurs in the day time at new moon, when the moon is between the Earth
Earth
and the sun, while a lunar eclipse occurs at night when the Earth
Earth
passes between the Sun
Sun
and the Moon.

The moon does not completely disappear as it passes through the umbra because of the refraction of sunlight by the Earth's atmosphere
Earth's atmosphere
into the shadow cone.

There is often confusion between a solar and lunar eclipse. While both involve interactions between the sun, Earth, and moon, they are very different in their interactions. Lunar eclipse
Lunar eclipse
appearance

A lunar eclipse occurs in two regions, an outer penumbral shadow where the sunlight is dimmed, and an inner umbral shadow, where much dimmer sunlight only exists by refraction through the Earth's atmosphere, leaving a red color. This can be seen in different exposures of a partial lunar eclipse, for example here with exposures of 1/80, 2/5, and 2 seconds.

The moon does not completely disappear as it passes through the umbra because of the refraction of sunlight by the Earth's atmosphere
Earth's atmosphere
into the shadow cone; if the Earth
Earth
had no atmosphere, the Moon
Moon
would be completely dark during an eclipse.[5] The reddish coloration arises because sunlight reaching the Moon
Moon
must pass through a long and dense layer of the Earth's atmosphere, where it is scattered. Shorter wavelengths are more likely to be scattered by the air molecules and the small particles, and so by the time the light has passed through the atmosphere, the longer wavelengths dominate. This resulting light we perceive as red. This is the same effect that causes sunsets and sunrises to turn the sky a reddish color; an alternative way of considering the problem is to realize that, as viewed from the moon, the sun would appear to be setting (or rising) behind the Earth.

From the Moon, a lunar eclipse would show a ring of reddish-orange light surrounding a dark Earth
Earth
in the sky.

The amount of refracted light depends on the amount of dust or clouds in the atmosphere; this also controls how much light is scattered. In general, the dustier the atmosphere, the more that other wavelengths of light will be removed (compared to red light), leaving the resulting light a deeper red color. This causes the resulting coppery-red hue of the moon to vary from one eclipse to the next. Volcanoes are notable for expelling large quantities of dust into the atmosphere, and a large eruption shortly before an eclipse can have a large effect on the resulting color.

Christopher Columbus predicting the lunar eclipse.

Lunar eclipse
Lunar eclipse
in culture Several cultures have myths related to lunar eclipses or allude to the lunar eclipse as being a good or bad omen. The Egyptians saw the eclipse as a sow swallowing the moon for a short time; other cultures view the eclipse as the moon being swallowed by other animals, such as a jaguar in Mayan tradition, or a three legged toad in China. Some societies thought it was a demon swallowing the moon, and that they could chase it away by throwing stones and curses at it.[6] The Greeks were ahead of their time when they said the Earth
Earth
was round and used the shadow from the lunar eclipse as evidence.[7] Some Hindus believe in the importance of bathing in the Ganges River following an eclipse because it will help to achieve salvation.[8] Incans Similarly to the Mayans, the Incans believed that lunar eclipses occurred when a jaguar would eat the moon, which is why a blood moon looks red. The Incans also believed that once the jaguar finished eating the moon, it could come down and devour all the animals on Earth, so they would take spears and shout at the moon to keep it away.[9] Mesopotamians The ancient Mesopotamians believed that a lunar eclipse was when the moon was being attacked by seven demons. This attack was more than just one on the moon, however, for the Mesopotamians linked what happened in the sky with what happened on the land, and because the king of Mesopotamia represented the land, the seven demons were thought to be also attacking the king. In order to prevent this attack on the king, the Mesopotamians made someone pretend to be the king so they would be attacked instead of the true king. After the lunar eclipse was over, the substitute king was made to disappear (possibly by poisoning).[9] Chinese In some Chinese cultures, people would ring bells to prevent a dragon or other wild animals from biting the moon.[10] In the nineteenth century, during a lunar eclipse, the Chinese navy fired its artillery because of this belief.[11] During the Zhou Dynasty in the Book
Book
of Songs, the sight of a red moon engulfed in darkness was believed to foreshadow famine or disease.[12] Blood moon See also: Blood Moon
Moon
Prophecy Certain lunar eclipses have been referred to as "blood moons" in popular articles but this is not a scientifically-recognized term.[13] This term has been given two separate, but overlapping, meanings. The first, and simpler, meaning relates to the reddish color a totally eclipsed Moon
Moon
takes on to observers on Earth.[14] As sunlight penetrates the atmosphere of Earth, the gaseous layer filters and refracts the rays in such a way that the green to violet wavelengths on the visible spectrum scatter more strongly than the red, thus giving the Moon
Moon
a reddish cast.[15] The second meaning of "blood moon" has been derived from this apparent coloration by two fundamentalist Christian pastors, Mark Blitz and John Hagee.[13][16] They claimed that the 2014–15 "lunar tetrad" of four lunar eclipses coinciding with the feasts of Passover
Passover
and Tabernacles matched the "moon turning to blood" described in the Book of Joel of the Hebrew Bible.[16] This tetrad was claimed to herald the Second Coming
Second Coming
of Christ and the Rapture
Rapture
as described in the Book
Book
of Revelations on the date of the first of the eclipses in this sequence on April 15, 2014.[17] Occurrence

This multi-exposure sequence shows the August 2017 lunar eclipse visible from the ESO headquarters.[18]

This collage shows the transitional stages of a lunar eclipse.

See also: Saros (astronomy)
Saros (astronomy)
and Eclipse
Eclipse
cycle At least two lunar eclipses and as many as five occur every year, although total lunar eclipses are significantly less common. If the date and time of an eclipse is known, the occurrences of upcoming eclipses are predictable using an eclipse cycle, like the saros. Recent and forthcoming lunar eclipses Main article: List of 21st-century lunar eclipses Further information: Lists of lunar eclipses Eclipses occur only during an eclipse season, when the Sun
Sun
appears to pass near either node of the Moon's orbit.

Lunar eclipse
Lunar eclipse
series sets from 1998–2002

Descending node   Ascending node

Saros Date Viewing Type Chart Saros Date Viewing Type Chart

109 1998 Aug 08

Penumbral

114 1999 Jan 31

Penumbral

119 1999 Jul 28

Partial

124 2000 Jan 21

Total

129 2000 Jul 16

Total

134 2001 Jan 09

Total

139 2001 Jul 05

Partial

144 2001 Dec 30

Penumbral

149 2002 Jun 24

Penumbral

Last set 1998 Sep 06 Last set 1998 Mar 13

Next set 2002 May 26 Next set 2002 Nov 20

Lunar eclipse
Lunar eclipse
series sets from 2002–2005

Descending node   Ascending node

Saros Photo Date View Type Chart Saros Photo Date View Type Chart

111 2002 May 26

penumbral

116 2002 Nov 20

penumbral

121

2003 May 16

total

126

2003 Nov 09

total

131

2004 May 04

total

136

2004 Oct 28

total

141 2005 Apr 24

penumbral

146 2005 Oct 17

partial

Last set 2002 Jun 24 Last set 2001 Dec 30

Next set 2006 Mar 14 Next set 2006 Sep 7

Lunar eclipse
Lunar eclipse
series sets from 2006–2009

Descending node   Ascending node

Saros # and photo Date Viewing Type Chart Saros # and photo Date Viewing Type Chart

113

2006 Mar 14

penumbral

118

2006 Sep 7

partial

123

2007 Mar 03

total

128

2007 Aug 28

total

133

2008 Feb 21

total

138

2008 Aug 16

partial

143

2009 Feb 09

penumbral

148

2009 Aug 06

penumbral

Last set 2005 Apr 24 Last set 2005 Oct 17

Next set 2009 Dec 31 Next set 2009 Jul 07

Lunar eclipse
Lunar eclipse
series sets from 2009–2013

Ascending node   Descending node

Saros # Photo Date Viewing Type chart Saros # Photo Date Viewing Type chart

110 2009 July 07

penumbral

115

2009 Dec 31

partial

120

2010 June 26

partial

125

2010 Dec 21

total

130

2011 June 15

total

135

2011 Dec 10

total

140

2012 June 04

partial

145 2012 Nov 28

penumbral

150 2013 May 25

penumbral

Last set 2009 Aug 06 Last set 2009 Feb 9

Next set 2013 Apr 25 Next set 2013 Oct 18

Lunar eclipse
Lunar eclipse
series sets from 2013–2016

Ascending node   Descending node

Saros Viewing date Type Saros Viewing date Type

112

2013 Apr 25

Partial

117 2013 Oct 18

Penumbral

122

2014 Apr 15

Total

127

2014 Oct 08

Total

132

2015 Apr 04

Total

137

2015 Sep 28

Total

142 2016 Mar 23

Penumbral

147

2016 Sep 16

Penumbral

Last set 2013 May 25 Last set 2012 Nov 28

Next set 2017 Feb 11 Next set 2016 Aug 18

Lunar eclipse
Lunar eclipse
series sets from 2016–2020

Descending node   Ascending node

Saros Date Type Viewing Saros Date Viewing Type Chart

109 2016 Aug 18

Penumbral

114

2017 Feb 11

Penumbral

119

2017 Aug 07

Partial

124

2018 Jan 31

Total

129 2018 Jul 27

Total

134 2019 Jan 21

Total

139 2019 Jul 16

Partial

144 2020 Jan 10

Penumbral

149 2020 Jul 05

Penumbral

Last set 2016 Sep 16 Last set 2016 Mar 23

Next set 2020 Jun 05 Next set 2020 Nov 30

See also

Moon
Moon
portal

Book: Lunar Eclipses

Lists of lunar eclipses and List of 21st-century lunar eclipses Moon
Moon
illusion Orbit of the Moon

References

^ Karttunen, Hannu. Fundamental Astronomy. Springer.  ^ "Observing Blog - In Search of Selenelion". Sky & Telescope. 2010-06-26. Retrieved 2011-12-08.  ^ Clarke, Kevin. "On the nature of eclipses". Inconstant Moon. Cyclopedia Selenica. Retrieved 19 December 2010.  ^ Paul Deans and Alan M. MacRobert (July 16, 2006). "Observing and Photographing Lunar Eclipses". Sky & Telescope. F+W. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link) ^ Fred Espenak and Jean Meeus. "Visual Appearance of Lunar Eclipses". NASA. The troposphere and stratosphere act together as a ring-shaped lens that refracts heavily reddened sunlight into Earth's umbral shadow  ^ Littmann, Mark; Espenak, Fred; Willcox, Ken (2008). "Chapter 4: Eclipses in Mythology". Totality Eclipses of the Sun
Sun
(3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-953209-4. Retrieved 17 December 2014.  ^ Pollack, Rebecca. "Ancient Myths Revised with Lunar Eclipse". University of Maryland. Retrieved 2 October 2014.  ^ Ani. "Hindus take a dip in the Ganges during Lunar Eclipse". Yahoo News. Retrieved 2 October 2014.  ^ a b Lee, Jane. "Lunar Eclipse
Eclipse
Myths From Around the World". National Geographic. Retrieved 9 October 2014.  ^ Quilas, Ma Evelyn. "Interesting Facts and Myths about Lunar Eclipse". LA Times. Retrieved 2 October 2014.  ^ "MYTHOLOGY OF THE LUNAR ECLIPSE".  ^ Kaul, Gayatri. "What Lunar Eclipse
Eclipse
Means in Different Parts of the World". India.com. Retrieved 6 October 2014.  ^ a b Sappenfield, Mark (13 April 2014). "Blood Moon
Moon
to arrive Monday night. What is a Blood Moon?". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 8 February 2018.  ^ Nigro, Nicholas (2010). Knack Night
Night
Sky: Decoding the Solar System, from Constellations to Black Holes. Globe Pequot. pp. 214–5. ISBN 978-0-7627-6604-8.  ^ "All you need to know about the 'blood moon'". theguardian. 28 September 2015.  ^ a b "What is a Blood Moon?". Earth
Earth
& Sky. 24 April 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2014.  ^ Bailey, Sarah Pulliam (15 April 2014). "'Blood moon' sets off apocalyptic debate among some Christians". Washington Post. Religion News Service. Retrieved 8 February 2018.  ^ "Lunar Eclipse
Eclipse
@ ESO". European Southern Observatory. Retrieved 14 August 2017. 

Further reading

Bao-Lin Liu, Canon of Lunar Eclipses 1500 B.C.-A.D. 3000, 1992 Jean Meeus and Hermann Mucke Canon of Lunar Eclipses. Astronomisches Büro, Vienna, 1983 Espenak, F., Fifty Year Canon of Lunar Eclipses: 1986-2035. NASA Reference Publication 1216, 1989

External links

Find more aboutLunar eclipseat's sister projects

Definitions from Wiktionary Media from Wikimedia Commons News from Wikinews Texts from Wikisource Textbooks from Wikibooks

"Lunar Eclipse
Eclipse
Essentials": video from NASA Animated explanation of the mechanics of a lunar eclipse, University of South Wales U.S. Navy Lunar Eclipse
Eclipse
Computer NASA Lunar Eclipse
Eclipse
Page Search among the 12,064 lunar eclipses over five millennium and display interactive maps Lunar Eclipses for Beginners Tips on photographing the lunar eclipse from New York Institute of Photography Lunar Eclipse
Eclipse
08 October 2014 on YouTube

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Lunar eclipses

Lists of lunar eclipses

All Central total eclipses Total penumbral eclipses Historically significant

Lunar eclipses by century

20th BCE 19th BCE 18th BCE 17th BCE 16th BCE 15th BCE 14th BCE 13th BCE 12th BCE 11th BCE 10th BCE 9th BCE 8th BCE 7th BCE 6th BCE 5th BCE 4th BCE 3rd BCE 2nd BCE 1st BCE 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th 16th 17th 18th 19th 20th 21st 22nd 23rd 24th 25th 26th 27th 28th 29th 30th

Lunar eclipses by Saros series

100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163

Partial eclipses 1950–2049

1952 Feb 1952 Aug 1954 Jul 1955 Nov 1956 May 1958 May 1959 Mar 1961 Mar 1961 Aug 1963 Jul 1965 Jun 1970 Feb 1970 Aug 1972 Jul 1973 Dec 1974 Jun 1976 May 1977 Apr 1979 Mar 1981 Jul 1983 Jun 1988 Aug 1990 Aug 1991 Dec 1992 Jun 1994 May 1995 Apr 1997 Mar 1999 Jul 2001 Jul 2005 Oct 2006 Sep 2008 Aug 2009 Dec 2010 Jun 2012 Jun 2013 Apr 2017 Aug → 2019 Jul 2021 Nov 2023 Oct 2024 Sep 2026 Aug 2028 Jan 2028 Jul 2030 Jun 2034 Sep 2035 Aug 2037 Jul 2039 Jun 2039 Nov 2041 May 2041 Nov 2046 Jan 2046 Jul 2048 Jun

Total eclipses 1950–2049

1950 Apr 1950 Sep 1953 Jan 1953 Jul 1954 Jan 1956 Nov 1957 May 1957 Nov 1960 Mar 1960 Sep 1963 Dec 1964 Jun 1964 Dec 1967 Apr 1967 Oct 1968 Apr 1968 Oct 1971 Feb 1971 Aug 1972 Jan 1974 Nov 1975 May 1975 Nov 1978 Mar 1978 Sep 1979 Sep 1982 Jan 1982 Jul 1982 Dec 1985 May 1985 Oct 1986 Apr 1986 Oct 1989 Feb 1989 Aug 1990 Feb 1992 Dec 1993 Jun 1993 Nov 1996 Apr 1996 Sep 1997 Sep 2000 Jan 2000 Jul 2001 Jan 2003 May 2003 Nov 2004 May 2004 Oct 2007 Mar 2007 Aug 2008 Feb 2010 Dec 2011 Jun 2011 Dec 2014 Apr 2014 Oct 2015 Apr 2015 Sep 2018 Jan → 2018 Jul 2019 Jan 2021 May 2022 May 2022 Nov 2025 Mar 2025 Sep 2026 Mar 2028 Dec 2029 Jun 2029 Dec 2032 Apr 2032 Oct 2033 Apr 2033 Oct 2036 Feb 2036 Aug 2037 Jan 2040 May 2040 Nov 2043 Mar 2043 Sep 2044 Mar 2044 Sep 2047 Jan 2047 Jul 2048 Jan

Penumbral eclipses

Partial

Previous penumbral: 2017 Feb 11 Next penumbral: → 2020 Jan 10

Total

1963 Jan 09 1981 Jan 20 1988 Mar 03 1999 Jan 31 2006 Mar 14 → 2042 May 05 2053 Aug 29

See also

Danjon scale Gamma

Book Category Commons Portal WikiProject → symbol denotes next eclipse in series

Authority control

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