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what is a lunar eclipse?

 

Occasionally the Earth passes between the Sun and the Moon. When that happens, the Earth's shadow covers all or part of the Moon and we get a lunar eclipse.

 
A lunar eclipse lasts much longer than a solar eclipse.
A total solar eclipse can last for up to 7½ minutes. How long do you think a total lunar eclipse can last for?
Image of a lunar eclipse

Length of total lunar eclipse in minutes?

[100 - Yes! The time when the Moon is completley dark can last upto a 100 minutes!] [150 - Not quite as long as 150 minutes! Have another go!] [300 - Too long - Have another go!]
[How does a barber cut the Moon's hair? - Eclipse it!]
 
[...did you know? - The Roman name for the Moon is 'Lun']

 

Here is an animation showing the orbit of the Moon around the Earth and the orbit of the Earth around the Sun. Can you see when a lunar eclispe happens?

 

 

* OK    ** Tricky    *** Brain Teaser
[Q - There are about 7 lunar eclipses every 10 years, approximately how many have there been since 2000 BC?] [Quick Quiz - ] [A - That's 4000 years so ther have been about 2800 total lunar eclipses since then!]
 

When do lunar eclipses occur?

Date

Year

Time (UT)

May 4

2004

20:30

October 28

2004

03:04

March 3

2007

23:21

August 28

2007

10:37

February 21

2008

03:26

December 21

2010

08:17

June 15

2011

20:12

December 10

2011

14:32

April 15

2014

07:45

October 8

2014

10:54

April 4

2015

12:00










This table shows the dates of some recent and future total lunar eclipses. Notice how they often come in pairs a few months apart, and then there is a gap of two or three years without any eclipses.


 

[...A second eclipse often follows the first (about 177 days later). Can you work out when the next eclipse would occur after the lunar eclipse of April 4th 2015? - The next lunar eclipse would be on September 28th 2015!]

 

 

[...did you know? - The full Moon supposedly made some people go mad - that's where the word Lunatic derives from!]

 

   

 

   
 
 

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