Physics

Difference Between Solar and Lunar Eclipse in Tabular Form

What is the distinction between a Solar vs Lunar Eclipse? In layman’s terms, a solar eclipse occurs when the sun becomes darker. A lunar eclipse, on the other hand, occurs when the moon becomes darker. Not to mention that there are numerous types of solar and lunar eclipses based on how much of the sun or moon is obscured by another celestial object.

Try to understand:

Solar and Lunar Eclipse

But, before delving into such questions as how much of the sun or moon darkens and by what astronomical phenomena. Let me give you a quick rundown of the main differences between a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse. Continue reading to gain a thorough understanding of the subject.

Solar vs Lunar Eclipse

 Solar EclipseLunar Eclipse
1.A solar eclipse occurs when the moon comes between the earth and the sun.A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth comes between the moon and the sun.
2.Only on a new moon day, a solar eclipse can occur.Only on a full moon day, a lunar eclipse can occur.
3.The eclipse of the sun takes place during the daytime.The eclipse of the moon takes place during the nighttime.
4.The duration of a solar eclipse is at most between 5 to 10 minutes.The duration of the lunar eclipse is at least 1 hour.
5.An eclipse of the sun is typically observed somewhere between 2 to 5 times a year.An eclipse of the moon is typically observed somewhere between 2 to 5 times a year.
6.It can only be observed in a few places.It can easily be observed in many places.
7.Avoid seeing the solar eclipse with naked eyes.Enjoy the glimpse of the lunar eclipse with naked eyes.

You now have a thorough understanding of the differences between lunar and solar eclipses. However, in order to distinguish them in detail, let us try to understand both of them in detail. Continue reading!

What are Eclipses?

An eclipse occurs when one celestial object passes between the other two celestial objects, according to the astronomical definition. Eclipses are classified into two types. These are solar and lunar eclipses, respectively.

Not to mention, depending on how much one celestial object obscures another, the solar and lunar eclipses can be further divided into many parts.

What is a Solar eclipse?

When the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, a solar eclipse occurs. As a result, sunlight is obstructed from reaching the earth’s surface. Furthermore, this natural occurrence can only occur on the eve of a new moon day.

Because the moon is so small in comparison to the size of the sun, a solar eclipse can only last a few minutes.

Types of Solar Eclipses

types-of-solar-eclipse
Image Credit: Pinterest

It can be further classified into four types based on how much moon obscures sunlight from falling on the earth.

Total Solar Eclipse

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon completely obscures the disc of the sun. And, for that to happen, the moon must be near its perigee, or the distance between the moon and the Earth.

Not to mention that the magnitude of the eclipse during totality is greater than or equal to 1.

Annular Solar Eclipse

An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon does not completely obscure the sun’s disc. In other words, it only covers the central portion of the sun’s disc, leaving the outer edge of the sun to form a thin ring of fire.

And, for that to happen, the moon must be near its apogee, or the distance between the moon and the Earth. Not to mention that the magnitude of the annular solar eclipse is less than one.

Partial Solar Eclipse

A partial solar eclipse occurs when the moon partially blocks sunlight from falling on Earth, as the name implies.

Furthermore, just as the visibility of the partial solar eclipse varies, so does the magnitude of the partial solar eclipse.

Hybrid Solar Eclipse

A hybrid solar eclipse is the result of combining the total and annular solar eclipses. To put it another way, a hybrid solar eclipse appears to be a total solar eclipse in one location.

As a result, the eclipse’s magnitude increases to greater than or equal to 1. In another location, however, it appears to be an annular solar eclipse. As a result, the magnitude of the solar eclipse is less than one.

Occurrence of Solar Eclipse

A solar eclipse occurs approximately 2 to 5 times per year. According to available astronomical writings from the last century, the earth experiences an average of 2.4 solar eclipses per year.

So, in terms of recent and upcoming solar events, here is a list of some of the most recent and upcoming solar eclipses.

Recent Solar Eclipses

  • Annular solar eclipse (21 June 2020)
  • Total solar eclipse (14 December 2020)
  • Annular solar eclipse (10 June 2021)

Upcoming Solar Eclipses

  • Total solar eclipse (4 December 2021)
  • Partial Solar Eclipse (30 April 2022)
  • Partial Solar Eclipse (25 October 2022)

What is a Lunar Eclipse?

When the earth passes between the moon and the sun, a lunar eclipse occurs. As a result, the earth’s shadow obscures the sunlight falling on the moon’s surface.

Furthermore, this natural occurrence can only occur on the eve of a full moon. An eclipse of the moon can last longer than an hour simply because the earth is too large in comparison to the moon.

Types of Lunar Eclipses

types-of-lunar-eclipse
Umbra is the place where a total lunar eclipse occurs and penumbra is the place where a penumbral lunar eclipse occurs. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

It can be further classified into three types based on how much earth prevents sunlight from falling on the moon.

Total Lunar Eclipse

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes completely through the umbra of the Earth. An umbra is also the darkest part of the earth’s shadow.

As a result, when the moon is completely immersed in the earth’s umbra, the umbra covers the entire moon’s surface. Furthermore, the total lunar eclipse is also known as the blood moon.

Partial Lunar Eclipse

A partial lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes partially through the umbra of the Earth.

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the penumbra of the Earth. A penumbra is also the lightest part of the earth’s shadow.

Occurrence of Lunar Eclipse

Both the solar and lunar eclipses occur between 2 and 5 times per year. If I talk about recent and upcoming lunar events, here is a list of some of the most recent and upcoming lunar eclipses.

Recent Lunar Eclipses

  • Penumbral lunar eclipse (5 July 2020)
  • Penumbral lunar eclipse (3o November 2020)
  • Total lunar eclipse (26 May 2021)

Upcoming Lunar Eclipses

  • Partial lunar eclipse (19 November 2021)
  • Total lunar eclipse (16 May 2022)
  • Total lunar eclipse (22 November 2022)

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What phase is the moon in during a solar eclipse?

ANS: A solar eclipse can only occur on a new moon day.

2. Does a solar eclipse occurs on every new moon day?

ANS: Just because the moon’s orbital path has an axial tilt of approximately 5° with respect to the earth’s orbital plane. Therefore, a solar eclipse does not occur on every new moon day.

3. What phase is the moon in during a lunar eclipse?

ANS: A lunar eclipse can only occur on a full moon day.

4. Does a lunar eclipse occurs on every full moon day?

ANS: For the same reason mentioned above, a lunar eclipse does not occur on every full moon day.

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