Within hours of Earth blocking the Sun’s light on the Moon: What is a lunar eclipse?

This Sunday, May 15, fans of astronomical phenomena will be able to enjoy the second eclipse of the yearin this case a lunar eclipse. The event will take place from the last hours of Sunday until the early hours of Monday 16 and the show is known as the “blood Moon”. However, prior to the event, what is a lunar eclipse?

To begin with, it is necessary to distinguish that there are four types of lunar eclipses:

  • total lunar eclipse
  • partial lunar eclipse
  • penumbral lunar eclipse

Indeed, the one that will take place this Sunday will be a “full moon”. This phenomenon occurs when the planet Earth blocks the sun’s light from reaching the moon. So, our planet casts two shadows that fall on the moon during a lunar eclipse: the umbra (a full, dark shadow, and the penumbra (a partial outer shadow).

lunar eclipse It will start on Sunday, May 15.

Why does the moon look red?

Although the Earth prevents sunlight from reaching the moon, it will still be visible to the naked eye. This is because the Earth’s atmosphere deflects sunlight and indirectly illuminates the Moon’s surface.

However, instead of perceiving it as white or yellowish, the color will be different. When sunlight passes through the Earth’s atmosphere, it is refracted towards the Earth’s surface. At that moment, colors with shorter wavelengths are scattered and filtered, while the rest, those characterized by longer wavelengths, pass through the atmosphere.

Precisely, that is the case of orange and red. The aforementioned light is refracted once more towards the surface of the totally eclipsed Moon, thus illuminating it with a reddish-orange glow. Because the phenomenon was nicknamed “blood Moon”.

The seven stages of the eclipse

Finally, according to the specialized site, Space, a lunar eclipse has seven different stages:

  1. The penumbral eclipse begins: “It’s not as noticeable to the naked eye and occurs when the penumbral shadow begins to move across the moon.”
  2. Partial eclipse begins:“It is usually the first part of the eclipse visible to the naked eye”.
  3. The total eclipse begins:“as the umbra completely covers the lunar surface, the moon turns a blood red color”.
  4. Maximum eclipse:“This is the stage with maximum coverage of the lunar surface by the Earth’s umbra”.
  5. The total eclipse ends:“Earth’s umbra begins to move away from the lunar surface as the eclipse begins to end”.
  6. End the partial eclipse:“Earth’s umbra leaves the lunar surface”.
  7. The penumbral eclipse ends:“Earth’s shadow no longer falls on the lunar surface”.

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