Lunar vs Solar Eclipse
Difference between Lunar and Solar Eclipse can only be understood if you get to understand clearly the position of the Earth, the Sun, and the Moon during each phenomenon. Lunar eclipse and solar eclipse are two phenomena that take place in our solar system. These two phenomena are different from each other. Hence, have to be understood with precision. The moon moves around the Earth and while moving, at certain instances, it casts a shadow on the Earth. The area on the Earth where the moon’s shadow falls experiences darkness. This is the main concept involved in the occurrence of an eclipse.
What is a Solar Eclipse?
When the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, it blocks out the Sun and casts a shadow on the Earth. When this happens, the sky darkens for a few minutes during the day. At that moment, you can see a dark circular patch in the sky where the moon has blocked the Sun. This event is called a total eclipse of the Sun or, in other words, it is called a Total Solar Eclipse.
Other than the Total Solar Eclipse, there are other types of solar eclipses known as Partial Solar Eclipse and Annular Solar Eclipse. During a Partial Solar Eclipse, the moon only covers a part of the Sun. During an Annular Solar Eclipse, the moon is at its furthest point in the orbit. As a result, it will not completely cover the Sun. This is because the moon is smaller compared to the size of the Sun at this particular moment. That is because it is in the furthest point of its orbit. So, during an Annular Solar Eclipse, you can see the Sun as very bright ring that surrounds the dark disk of the moon.
What is a Lunar Eclipse?
Before understanding the concept of lunar eclipse, one should know about the nature of the moon. The moon does not give off light of its own. It reflects the light from the sun. As the moon moves around the Earth, we see different parts of the moon’s lighted surface. This is why the moon’s shape appears to change. The moon takes about a month to move around the earth. These changes in the moon’s shape repeat every month and are called phases of the moon.
The Earth revolves around the Sun while the moon revolves around the Earth at a slight angle. While making their revolutions, when the Sun, the Earth and the moon come in a straight line on the same plane, with the Earth in between the Sun and the moon, the shadow of the Earth falls on the moon. This means that sunlight does not fall on the moon during this phase of the revolution. The portion of the moon over which light does not fall gets invisible. This is called a lunar eclipse.
There are different types of lunar eclipses as well. When the Earth’s shadow completely covers the moon that moment is known as Total Lunar Eclipse. When the Earth’s shadow only covers a part of the moon that phenomenon is known as Partial Lunar Eclipse. When a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse happens only the more diffuse outer shadow of the Earth falls on the moon. So, you will not see a portion of the moon getting dark as clearly as in a Partial or Total Lunar Eclipse. Therefore, Penumbral Lunar Eclipse is harder to see even with proper scientific gear.
What is the difference between Lunar and Solar Eclipse?
• Lunar eclipse is relevant to the moon while solar eclipse is relevant to the Sun.
• Lunar eclipse happens when the Earth’s shadow falls on the moon as it comes between Sun and the moon. Solar eclipse happens when the moon comes between the Earth and the Sun and cast a shadow on the Earth.
• Solar eclipse happens during the day, and the Lunar eclipse happens during the night.
• There are different types of solar eclipses called Total Solar Eclipse, Partial Solar Eclipse, and Annular Solar Eclipse. There are also different types of lunar eclipses called Total Lunar Eclipse, Partial Lunar Eclipse, and Penumbral Lunar Eclipse.
• Solar eclipse does not occur as frequently as lunar eclipse.
• Watching a solar eclipse with the naked eye can be harmful while watching the lunar eclipse with the naked eye is not harmful.