Explainer: What is the Lunar Eclipse?
A lunar eclipse occurs when direct sunlight does not reach the Moon because the Earth is between the other two (say, the sun and the moon). During a total lunar eclipse, the Earth completely blocks the sunlight from reaching the Moon. The only light that the lunar surface reflects is in fact the one refracted by the Earth's atmosphere. This is why the moon looks red because of the color of reflected light. Due to this reddish color, a totally eclipsed Moon is also called the "blood moon" by some. The lunar eclipse is also called Chandra Grahan in India and Nepal.
Meet the Moon:
The moon is cold and has a rocky body. It has a diameter of approximately 2,160 miles (3,476 km). The moon does not have its own light, but it shines when it receives the sunlight and reflects the same of its surface. The Moon orbits the Earth every 29 days and a half approximately. The moon is the natural satellite of Earth. As our planet Earth circulates, the change of position of the Moon in relation to the Sun causes it to go through a series of phases.
Mechanism involved in the Lunar Eclipse:
An eclipse of the Moon (or lunar eclipse) can only occur on the Full Moon, and also when the Moon passes through some part of the Earth's shadow. This shadow is composed of two cone-shaped components, one placed inside the other. The outer shadow or penumbra is an area where Earth blocks some of the Sun's rays from reaching the Moon. In contrast, the inner shadow or threshold is a region where the Earth blocks all sunlight from reaching the Moon. Based on this, Astronomers recognize three basic types of lunar eclipses: Penumbral Lunar Eclipse, Partial Lunar Eclipse, and Total Lunar Eclipse.
Basic Types of Lunar Eclipse:
1. Lunar Eclipse of Penumbra: The moon passes through the penumbral shadow of the Earth. These events are very subtle and, in fact, are difficult to observe.
2. Partial Lunar Eclipse: A part of the Moon passes through the inner / inner shadow of the Earth. These events are easy to see through human eyes without help.
3. Total Lunar Eclipse: The entire Moon passes through the Earth's shadow. These events are impressive because the vibrant red color of the Moon appears on its surface during the total phase (wholeness), often called the "Blood Moon".
How to watch a lunar eclipse:
Lunar eclipses make favorite events easier and easier to "observe from the sky" since time immemorial. You do not need anything like a telescope or any other special equipment to see the lunar eclipse. However, binoculars or a small telescope add more detail to the lunar surface at the same time they do "moon-watching," particularly during an eclipse.