Honors Physics

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Astronomy Project

A Lunar Eclipse is an eclipse in which the full moon passes partially or wholly through the umbra of the earth's shadow (Merriam-Webster, 2012). When this happens, the moon appears darker as it passes into the earth's shadow. One thing that I found interesting is that there are different types of eclipses. When I first read more information on the lunar eclipse I was confused about what those differences are. I found out that during the five thousand year period from 2000 BCE through 3000 CE, there are 7,718 eclipses (both partial and total) of the Moon (Espenak). The two types of eclipses are the lunar eclipse and the solar eclipse. A solar eclipse can only be viewed from a small area of the world but a lunar eclipse may be viewed from anywhere on the night side of the Earth.
According to Keith Cooley, there are three different types of lunar eclipses. They are as follows: * Partial Lunar Eclipse - A portion of the Moon passes through the Earth's umbral shadow. These events are easy to see, even with the unaided eye.

* Penumbral Lunar Eclipse - The Moon passes through the Earth's penumbral shadow. These events are subtle and quite difficult if not impossible to observe. During a penumbral eclipse the moons light is dimmed but does not go dark due to the fact that the penumbral shadow is not dark enough to black out the sun's light. A penumbral eclipse is sometimes referred to as an appulse eclipse.

* Total Lunar Eclipse - The entire Moon passes through the Earth's umbral shadow. During the time of totality the moons color may change to a dull copper tone, an effect caused by earth shine or reflected earth light. The moon can stay in the umbrals shadow for as long as 90 minutes.

The actual type of lunar eclipse is determined by where the moon is in relationship to the shadow of the Earth (Moon Giant). Most people have seen at…...

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