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2.9: Lunar Eclipses

Difficulty Level: Basic Created by: CK-12
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Can you see a lunar eclipse?

Again, of course! Anyone with a view of the Moon can see a lunar eclipse. The next four total lunar eclipses predicted for North America will be on April 15, 2014; October 8, 2014; April 5, 2015 and September 28, 2015.

Lunar Eclipses

Sometimes a full moon moves through Earth's shadow. This is a lunar eclipse ( Figure below ). During a total lunar eclipse, the Moon travels completely in Earth’s umbra. During a partial lunar eclipse, only a portion of the Moon enters Earth’s umbra. When the Moon passes through Earth’s penumbra, it is a penumbral eclipse. Since Earth’s shadow is large, a lunar eclipse lasts for hours.

A lunar eclipse.

Partial lunar eclipses occur at least twice a year, but total lunar eclipses are less common. The moon glows with a dull red coloring during a total lunar eclipse.

A lunar eclipse is shown in a series of pictures.


  • lunar eclipse : An eclipse that occurs when the Moon moves through the shadow of the Earth and is blocked from view.


  • During a lunar eclipse, the full Moon moves through Earth's shadow.
  • Earth's shadow is large so lunar eclipses last longer than solar eclipses. They cover more area too.
  • The umbra is the part of the shadow in which light is completely blocked.
  • The penumbra is the part of the shadow that is partially lit.


Use these resources to answer the questions that follow.


  1. What is a lunar eclipse?
  2. List the three basic types of eclipses.
  3. Why don't we have lunar eclipses every month?
  4. What color is the moon during a total lunar eclipse?
  5. When is the next lunar eclipse?


  1. What causes a lunar eclipse?
  2. Why are you more likely to see a lunar eclipse than a solar eclipse?
  3. When does a lunar eclipse occur?


lunar eclipse

lunar eclipse

Eclipse that occurs when the Moon moves through the shadow of the Earth and is blocked from view.

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Jan 04, 2013

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