Couldn't find element LayerAd

Error finding content

Lunar Eclipses - Windows to the Universe

Shop Windows to the Universe

Earth Science Rocks! Select one of our four cool NESTA t-shirts from our online store, and express your love of Earth and space science!
This image explains how the Earth's shadow causes a lunar eclipse. Notice the difference between the umbra and the penumbra.
Click on image for full size
Windows to the Universe original image

Lunar Eclipses

A lunar eclipse is when the Earth's shadow blocks sunlight from reaching the Moon. It can only happen when there is a full moon. The Sun, Earth and Moon all need to be in a straight line too.

The Earth's shadow has two parts called the penumbra and the umbra. The umbra is much darker than the penumbra. When the Moon passes through the umbra, it is called a total eclipse.

When only part of the Moon passes through the umbra, it's called a partial eclipse. And when the Moon goes through the penumbra, it's called a penumbral eclipse. Have you seen an eclipse?

Last modified June 20, 2001 by Jennifer Bergman.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes books on science education, ranging from evolution, classroom research, and the need for science and math literacy!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Lunar Eclipse January 20, 2000

There's a lunar eclipse this week! Thursday night, all of North America will see the eclipse. It starts at 10:00 pm Eastern Time. A lunar eclipse is different than a solar eclipse. During a lunar eclipse,...more

Total Lunar Eclipse

There will be an eclipse of the Moon on Thursday night, May 15, 2003. The shadow of the Earth will fall on the Moon, and the Moon will get dark! The Moon will not be so dark that you can't see it. The...more

Eclipse of the Moon

There will be an eclipse of the Moon on Saturday night, November 8, 2003. The shadow of the Earth will fall on the Moon, and the Moon will get dark! The Moon will not be so dark that you can't see it....more

Lunar Eclipse in October 2004

There will be an eclipse of the Moon on Wednesday night, October 27, 2004 (or the morning of the 28th if you are in Europe or Africa). The shadow of the Earth will fall on the Moon, and the Moon will get...more

Universal Time

When it is noon where you live, it is midnight on the opposite side of the world. Usually when we think of time, we mean "the time of day where I live". If we say something happened at 9 AM, we mean it...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF