Difference Between Solar and Lunar Eclipse

Difference Between Solar Eclipse and Lunar Eclipse

What is the difference between solar eclipse and lunar eclipse? The terms solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse refer to events involving three celestial bodies: the Sun (“solar“), the Moon (“lunar“), and the Earth. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon lines up precisely in front of the Earth so that the Moon blocks the Sun’s rays and the Moon’s shadow falls upon the Earth. In contrast, a lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon lines up precisely behind the Earth so that the Earth blocks the Sun’s rays and the Earths shadow falls upon the Moon. Both events are relatively rare occurrences and only happen when the Sun, the Moon and the Earth are exactly or very closely aligned.

Solar Eclipse vs. Solar Eclipse

The difference between solar and lunar eclipse is fairly easy explained. Some of the more important differences are as follows:

  • Visibility. A solar eclipse can only be viewed from a certain relatively small area of the world while a lunar eclipse may be viewed from anyone on the night side of the Earth.
  • Time. A solar eclipse only occurs at night while a solar eclipse only occurs during the day. In addition, there are only certain times when either of them can occur. A lunar eclipse can only occur when the Moon is directly opposite the Sun (a Full Moon).
  • Duration. While a lunar eclipse can last for a few hours, a total solar eclipse lasts for only a few minutes at any given place due to the small size of the Moon’s shadow.
  • Frequency. Lunar eclipses occur more often than solar eclipses. Because the Moon is closer to the Earth than it is to the Sun, the Earth has a much greater chance of blocking the sunlight to the Moon, compared to the Moon blocking the Earth’s light from the Sun.
  • Viewing. As it is dangerous to look directly at the Sun, observers should use special eye protection or indirect viewing techniques when looking at a solar eclipse. In contrast, lunar eclipses are safe to view without any eye protection or special precautions, as they are no brighter (indeed dimmer) than the full moon itself.

Solar Eclipse Compared to Lunar Eclipse

In short, the main difference between solar and lunar eclipse are the relative positions of the Sun, the Moon and the Earth.

Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon is in front of the Earth so that the Moon blocks the Sun’s rays and the Moon’s shadow falls upon the Earth.

 

Solar Eclipse Info

Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon is behind the Earth so that the Earth blocks the Sun’s rays and the Earth’s shadow falls upon the Moon.

 

Lunar Eclipse Info

Solar Eclipse Compared to Lunar Eclipse Mythology

While several cultures have myths related to the lunar eclipse, a solar eclipse has always had a more profound effect on society. In some ancient and modern cultures, solar eclipses have been attributed to supernatural causes or regarded as bad omens. For example, in ancient China, a solar eclipse was thought to be the dragon coming to eat the Sun.

Moon Phases, Full Moons and Moon Calendars

As the Moon orbits Earth, it changes phase in an orderly way. Follow these links to understand the various phases of the moon.

Full Moons

Full Moon | Full Moon Names | Blue Moon | Wolf Moon | Snow Moon | Worm Moon | Pink Moon | Flower Moon | Strawberry Moon | Buck Moon | Sturgeon Moon | Harvest Moon | Hunters Moon | Beaver Moon | Cold Moon |

Moon Phases

Understanding Moon Phases | New Moon | Waxing Crescent Moon | First Quarter Moon | Waxing Gibbous Moon | Full Moon | Waning Gibbous Moon | Last Quarter Moon | Waning Crescent Moon |

Moon Calendars

Full Moon Calendar | Lunar Calendar | Lunar Eclipse Calendar | Solar Eclipse Calendar | Full Moon Calendar 2011 | Full Moon Calendar 2012 | Full Moon Calendar 2013 | Full Moon Calendar 2014 | Full Moon Calendar 2015 | Full Moon Calendar 2016 | Full Moon Calendar 2017 | Full Moon Calendar 2018 | Full Moon Calendar 2019 | Full Moon Calendar 2020 |

Eclipses & Moon Facts

Lunar Eclipse | Solar Eclipse | Solar Eclipse vs. Lunar Eclipse | Facts About The Moon |