It’s always awesome when a solar eclipse happens, but did you know that there are cool lunar eclipse events, too? Add some fun lunar eclipse lesson plans and activities to
Let’s first take a look at some facts about lunar eclipse vs. solar eclipse.
Don’t miss your free BONUS lunar eclipse FREE PRINTABLE for kids at the end of this post!
What is the difference between a solar and lunar eclipse?
The major difference in a solar eclipse versus a lunar eclipse is that a solar eclipse happens during the day with the blocking of the sun and a lunar eclipse happens at night with the blocking of the moon. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon blocks all or part of the sun when it passes between the sun and the earth. A lunar eclipse occurs when all or part of the moon is obstructed by the earth’s shadow.
Lunar Eclipse Definition | What is a Total Lunar Eclipse? [Video]
Like we discussed earlier, with a lunar eclipse, the Earth’s shadow blocks all or part the sun’s light.
There are three types of lunar eclipses: total, partial, and penumbral.
FUN FACT: A lunar eclipse can only occur when there’s a full moon!
A total lunar eclipse happens when the sun, moon, and earth are all lined up.
With a total lunar eclipse, the moon moves behind the earth and blocks the sun’s light from reflecting onto the moon and the earth.
Don’t forget about the 19 lunar eclipse activities later in this post!
According to Space.com:
“Here’s how it works: Earth casts two shadows that fall on the moon during a lunar eclipse: The umbra is a full, dark shadow. The penumbra is a partial outer shadow. The moon passes through these shadows in stages. The initial and final stages — when the moon is in the penumbral shadow — are not so noticeable, so the best part of an eclipse is during the middle of the event, when the moon is in the umbral shadow.”
Types of Lunar Eclipse
There are three different types of lunar eclipses:
1. Penumbral Lunar Eclipse
The Moon passes through Earth’s penumbral shadow.
Penumbral is the lighter “shadow” around the Umbra.
Umbra is the dark center of an eclipse shadow during a total eclipse.
2. Partial Lunar Eclipse
A portion of the Moon passes through Earth’s umbral shadow.
3. Total Lunar Eclipse
The entire Moon passes through Earth’s umbral shadow and the moon appears to be red in color during totality, or the total eclipse phase.
The earth casts a shadow onto the moon with a red color. That’s why a total lunar eclipse moon is also called the “Blood Moon.”
Space.com explains this:
“The red moon is possible because while the moon is in total shadow, some light from the sun passes through Earth’s atmosphere and is bent toward the moon. While other colors in the spectrum are blocked and scattered by Earth’s atmosphere, red light tends to make it through easier. The effect is to cast all the planet’s sunrises and sunsets on the moon.”
Blood Moon versus Blue Moon versus Super Moon
In rare cases, there is a Blood Moon total lunar eclipse that is also a Blue Moon.
(Pssst: A Blue Moon isn’t actually blue, by the way. Confusing, I know.)
A Blue Moon is the second full moon of a calendar month.
There is also a Supermoon, or a “full moon that’s closer to Earth than usual and can appear slightly brighter and larger than normal.”
When this kind of event happens, it is called a Super Blue Blood Moon.
Whew. That’s A LOT, I know…
CHECK OUT THIS RELATED TOPIC NEXT!
Who Can See the Total Lunar Eclipse?
Viewing a lunar eclipse will depend on when it happens and where you are in the world.
Also, even if you are in an area where the eclipse is visible, the weather will have an impact on whether you can see it or not!
(Bummer, I know…)
Eclipse Map | When Is the Next Lunar Eclipse?
You can see a cool lunar and solar eclipse map by clicking here.
It covers eclipses for the next 10 years!
On the map you can see locations, times, paths, and visibility, so start planning!
Watching a Total Lunar Eclipse
For a total lunar eclipse, you don’t need any special gear or glasses to protect your eyes (like you needed for the total solar eclipse).
You can view the lunar eclipse directly and safely just by looking up in the sky.
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19 FREE Lunar Eclipse and Moon Lesson Plans, Activities, Worksheets, and Crafts
You can have so much fun with this topic (and it goes well beyond just completing a solar and lunar eclipses worksheet!).
For example, we had a ton of fun making that glow in the dark eclipse t-shirt! (So don’t miss that one!)
Check out any of these other projects and activities to add to your eclipses studies!
(This is a GREAT unit study topic, by the way!)
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Children’s Eclipse Books + Books About the Moon
GET YOUR FREE LUNAR ECLIPSE WORKSHEET PRINTOUT!
We’ve created an awesome FREE handy eclipse “cheatsheet” printout that you can use during your eclipse studies.
Just click here to get the printout or on the image below.