Fast Facts

What space lunar phases and also eclipses?

The moonlight we watch on planet is sunlight reflected turn off the Moon"s grayish-white surface. The lot of Moon we see alters over the month — lunar phases — since the Moon orbits Earth and also Earth orbits the Sun. Whatever is moving.

You are watching: Why do you think we see phases of the moon?

During a lunar eclipse, earth comes between the Sun and also the Moon, blocking the sunlight falling ~ above the Moon. Earth"s shadow covers every or part of the lunar surface.


Use this device to check out the present Moon phase and also to arrangement ahead for various other Moon views. Credit: ugandan-news.comWhat are Lunar Phases?

What space Lunar Phases?

Our Moon doesn't shine, the reflects. As with daytime here on Earth, sunshine illuminates the Moon.


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Credit: ugandan-news.com/Bill Dunford

We just can't constantly see it.

When sunlight hits turn off the Moon's much side — the side us can't view without from earth the aid of a spacecraft — it is dubbed a new Moon.

When sunlight reflects off the close to side, we speak to it a full Moon.

The remainder of the month us see components of the daytime side of the Moon, or phases. This eight phases are, in order, new Moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full Moon, waning gibbous, third quarter and also waning crescent. The bike repeats once a month (every 29.5 days).

What is a Lunar Eclipse?

What is a Lunar Eclipse?

During a lunar eclipse, planet comes between the Sun and also the Moon, blocking the sunshine falling ~ above the Moon.

There space two type of lunar eclipses:

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon and Sun space on opposite political parties of Earth. A partial lunar eclipse happens as soon as only component of Earth's shadow covers the Moon.

During part stages that a lunar eclipse, the Moon can appear reddish. This is because the just remaining sunlight reaching the Moon in ~ that suggest is from approximately the edge of the Earth, as checked out from the Moon's surface. From there, one observer throughout an eclipse would check out all Earth's sunrises and sunsets at once.


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A composite of seven pictures shows the complete Moon in ~ perigee, or supermoon, during a total lunar eclipse top top Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Denver. Credit: ugandan-news.com/Bill Ingalls

Understanding Lunar Eclipses

A lunar eclipse occurs once the Moon passes v the Earth's shadow, just as a solar eclipse occurs when part of the earth passes with the Moon's shadow.

So why don't eclipses happen twice a month?

The factor is the the Moon's orbit around the earth is tilted family member to the Earth's orbit approximately the Sun.

But if that's the case, why carry out eclipses happen at all?

Throughout the year, the Moon's orbital tilt remains fixed through respect come the stars, an interpretation that it transforms with respect come the Sun. About twice a year, this put the Moon in just the right position to pass with the Earth's shadow, bring about a lunar eclipse.

As the Moon passes right into the main part that the Earth's shadow, referred to as the umbra, it dims dramatically. Once it's entirely within the umbra, the Moon appears a dim red due to sunlight scattered v the Earth's atmosphere.

In fact, if girlfriend watched the eclipse indigenous the surface ar of the Moon, you'd view the Sun set behind the entire Earth, bathing you in a warmth red glow. Back home, you'll have to stay up late to clock a lunar eclipse, yet if you carry out you'll view the Moon in rarely form, and also you'll catch a short glimpse of our very own planet's lengthy shadow.


It's not frequently that we gain a opportunity to watch our planet's shadow, however a lunar eclipse offers us a fleeting glimpse. During these rare events, the complete Moon promptly darkens and also then glows red as it beginning the Earth's shadow. An ext details and download choices › picture the Moon

Photograph the Moon

Capturing the Moon through a camera is among the most satisfying—and challenging—projects obtainable to an out photographer. Here are 10 proposal for make the most of a moonlit night with your camera.

How execute Lunar Eclipses influence Spacecraft?

How carry out Lunar Eclipses influence Spacecraft?

Lunar eclipses can be a scientific research boon and engineering an obstacle for orbiting spacecraft, such together ugandan-news.com's Lunar reconnaissance Orbiter. The solar-powered orbiter also falls in Earth's shadow, cut it off from the resource of the power. Mission controllers shut down most tools to conserve energy.

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The team leaves on one instrument—called Diviner—that can watch how the lunar surface responds come the rapid adjust in temperature caused by a lunar eclipse. The data help scientists better understand the composition and also properties the the surface.