Space - Moon and Eclipses

Have you ever seen an eclipse?

Space - Moon and Eclipses

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As you may recall from lessons in school, the Moon is a natural satellite of the Earth. Its rotation synchronizes with the Earth’s. It is also the second brightest object in the Earth’s sky right after the Sun. In addition, you learned that the Moon orbits around the Earth once every 27.3 days. Because the Earth is also rotating and orbiting around the Sun, the phases of the Moon occur about every 29.5 days. This quiz will not be on the Moon and its phases but, rather, on the Moon and eclipses. However, the Moon’s phases do directly relate to eclipses.

You already know a little bit about the Moon so let’s look into eclipses. What is an eclipse?

An eclipse is when one object casts its shadow upon another object. There are three parts or types of Earth shadows. There is the umbra, which is the innermost and darkest part of a shadow and comes with a total eclipse of an object. Next is the penumbra which is when a shadow covers only a portion of an object so it is referred to as a partial eclipse. Finally there is the antumbra which is when a shadow appears to cover the center of an object but not the outer diameter of that object. This is known as annular eclipse.

There are two basic forms of eclipses, i.e., a lunar eclipse (meaning the Moon) and a solar eclipse (meaning the Sun).

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Lunar Eclipse

A lunar eclipse will happen when the Earth passes between the Moon and the Sun. This generally happens during the Full Moon phase and it can be observed almost everywhere on Earth. A lunar eclipse can also last for a few hours.

Types of Lunar Eclipses include:

1. Total Lunar Eclipse: This is when the Moon travels completely into the Earth’s umbra (shadow).

2. Partial Lunar Eclipse: This is when the Moon only travels partially into the Earth’s umbra.

3. Penumbral Lunar Eclipse: This is when the Moon passes through the Earth’s penumbra making the Moon look black.

Solar Eclipse

A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the Earth and the Sun. In most cases, this will happen during the New Moon phase. Unlike the lunar eclipse, a solar eclipse only lasts for a few minutes.

Types of Solar Eclipses include:

1. Total Solar Eclipse: This is when the Sun is completely covered by the Moon. As this occurs during the New Moon phase, the Moon’s orbit takes it closer to the Earth allowing its close proximity to block out the Sun.

2. Partial Solar Eclipse: This is when the Moon only partially covers the Sun, making it appear as though a bite was taken out of the Sun. Even a total eclipse experiences a partial eclipse as the Moon slowly covers the Sun and then moves past it to once again reveal its surface.

3. Annular Solar Eclipse: This is when the Moon covers only the center of the Sun but the Sun’s edges can still be seen. This is caused when the distance between the Earth and the Moon are greater. The Sun’s “ring” is known as an “annulus” which is a circle that appear to have its center cut out.

4. Hybrid Eclipse: This is when an eclipse is seen as an annular eclipse at some points on the Earth while at other points it is seen as a partial eclipse.

Frequency of Eclipses

Eclipses are far more frequent than you would first imagine. This is mostly due to the fact that some people will only consider a “total” eclipse which happens only about once every 20 years. However, between the years of 1996 and 2020, there will be a total of 18 eclipses. That is 18 eclipses in just 24 years but in that same period of time there will only be 2 total eclipses. In addition, eclipses are observed differently depending upon where you are located on the Earth’s surface.

Because eclipses also take place during the Moon’s Full Moon phase and New Moon phase, why doesn’t an eclipse happen every month? The reason it doesn’t happen every month has to do with the Moon’s tilt. Depending upon the Moon’s tilt, the shadow that is cast in an eclipse happens either too soon or too late to be seen from the surface of the Earth. The tilt needs to be just right for the shadow to be visible on Earth.

Now you have learned or been refreshed with knowledge about the Moon and Eclipses. If you feel like you’re comfortable understanding eclipses, then it’s time to move forward and see if you can answer the following ten questions.
1.
Between the years of 1996 and 2020, there will be a total of ___ eclipses.
27
2
18
29
Between the years of 1996 and 2020, there will be a total of 18 eclipses. Answer (c) is correct
2.
The Moon is in what phase during a lunar eclipse?
Full Moon
Quarter Moon
New Moon
Half Moon
During a lunar eclipse the Moon is in the Full Moon phase. Answer (a) is correct
3.
This is when the Moon only partially covers the Sun, making it appear as though a bite was taken out of the Sun.
Annular solar eclipse
Partial solar eclipse
Total solar eclipse
Hybrid solar eclipse
A partial solar eclipse is when the Moon only partially covers the Sun, making it appear as though a bite was taken out of the Sun. Answer (b) is correct
4.
This is when an eclipse is seen as an annular eclipse at some points on the Earth while at other points it is seen as a partial eclipse.
Solar eclipse
Umbra
Penumbra
Hybrid eclipse
A hybrid eclipse is when an eclipse is seen as an annular eclipse at some points on the Earth while at other points it is seen as a partial eclipse. Answer (d) is correct
5.
The Moon is in what phase during a solar eclipse.
New Moon
Quarter Moon
Blue Moon
Hunters Moon
The Moon is in the New Moon phase during a solar eclipse. Answer (a) is correct
6.
This is when the Moon passes through the Earth’s penumbra making the Moon look black.
Total lunar eclipse
Partial lunar eclipse
Solar eclipse
Penumbral lunar eclipse
A penumbral lunar eclipse is when the Moon passes through the Earth’s penumbra making the Moon look black. Answer (d) is correct
7.
The Sun’s “ring” is known as _________ which is a circle that appears to have its center cut out.
a halo
a hybrid
an annulus
a diameter
The Sun’s “ring” is known as an “annulus” which is a circle that appears to have its center cut out. Answer (c) is correct
8.
We have a New Moon and a Full Moon every month so why don’t we experience an eclipse every month?
Earth’s alignment with the Sun each month alters its alignment with the Moon
The Moon’s tilt has the shadow pass either too soon or too late to be seen on Earth
The Earth’s seasons alter the atmosphere which prevents or diminishes eclipses
The gravitational pull between the Earth and Moon changes as the Moon gets closer and as it moves further away which eliminates the chance of an eclipse from happening
The Moon’s tilt has the shadow pass either too soon or too late to be seen on Earth. Answer (b) is correct
9.
This is when one object casts its shadow upon another object.
Penumbra
Eclipse
Antumbra
Umbra
A penumbra, an antumbra and an umbra are each types of shadows. However, an eclipse is when one object casts its shadow upon another object. Answer (b) is correct
10.
This will happen when the Earth passes between the Moon and the Sun.
Solar eclipse
Hybrid eclipse
Annular eclipse
Lunar eclipse
A lunar eclipse will happen when the Earth passes between the Moon and the Sun. Answer (d) is correct
Author:  Christine G. Broome

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