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Lunar Eclipse Facts

An astronomical event in which moon passes behind earth blocking sun rays from striking the moon

  • A lunar eclipse may be viewed from anywhere on the night side of the Earth.
  • Moon's speed through the shadow is about one kilometer per second. So, totality of eclipse may last up to nearly 107 minutes and maximum of 3 hours and 40 minutes.
  • A selenelion or selenehelion occurs when both the Sun and the eclipsed Moon can be observed at the same time.
  • Full moons are the only time lunar eclipses occur.
  • Lunar eclipses can never happen more than three times a year.
  • Lunar eclipses are visible over an entire hemisphere.
  • A Penumbral Lunar Eclipse is one in which the Moon passes through Earth's penumbral shadow. These events are of only academic interest because they are subtle and hard to observe.
  • A Partial Lunar Eclipse occurs when a portion of the Moon passes through Earth's umbral shadow. These can be seen even with an unaided eye.
  • Total Lunar Eclipse is when the entire Moon passes through Earth's umbral shadow. These are quite striking due to the Moon's vibrant red color during the total phase (totality).
  • The Egyptians had a myth that the eclipse is a sow swallowing the moon for a short time.
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