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What is a Lunar Eclipse?

Geography | 5-13 yrs | Interactive
  • When the Earth moves between the sun and the moon, therefore blocking the sun’s rays from striking the moon, is called a lunar eclipse. This happens when the Sun, the Earth and the Moon are aligned closely with the Earth in the middle.
  • During a lunar eclipse, the Earth’s shadow can be seen on the moon’s surface. From the shape of the shadow, you can tell that the Earth is round.
  • A partial eclipse hides only a part of the moon while a total eclipse hides the moon entirely.

WHY LUNAR ECLIPSES OCCUR

  • The moon orbits around the Earth and the Earth circles around the sun. Every now and then, the Earth, the Sun and the Moon come in the middle. When this happens, the Earth’s shadow engulfs the moon.

PROGRESS OF AN ECLIPSE

  • During a total eclipse the moon looks red. This is because sunlight contains all the colours of the rainbow. The Earth’s atmosphere bends and scatters the colours. Red travels further than the other colours, and so it becomes the colour of the shadow of earth.

THINGS TO DO

  • To make a lunar eclipse you will need two oranges and a flashlight. Place the oranges in line about 8 inches apart. From about two feet away from the table, hold the flashlight at the same level of the oranges. What happens?
  • What is the difference between a lunar and solar eclipse?
  • Observe the colour changes during a lunar eclipse and draw a representation of the moon every time you see some change in colour.

For more interesting Geography articles and videos, visit our Geography for Kids category.

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