Eclipses of the Moon

When the Moon moves through the shadow of Earth, it dims considerably but remains faintly visible. Because the shadow of Earth is directed away from the Sun, a lunar eclipse can occur only at the time of the full moon—that is, when the Moon is on the side of Earth opposite to that of the Sun. A lunar eclipse appears much the same at all points of Earth from which it can be seen. When the Moon enters the penumbra, a penumbral eclipse occurs. The dimming of the Moon's illumination by the penumbra is so slight as to be scarcely noticeable, and penumbral eclipses are rarely watched. After a part of the Moon's surface is in the umbra and thus darkened, the Moon is said to be in partial eclipse. After about an hour, when the whole disk of the Moon is within the umbra, the eclipse becomes total. If the Moon's path leads through the centre of the umbra, the total eclipse can be expected to last about an hour and three-quarters.

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