Lunar Eclipse vs New Moon
To understand the difference between Lunar Eclipse and New Moon, first you have to understand what is meant by lunar eclipse and what is meant by new moon. First of all, you should remember that they are two terms related to our universe that definitely has a very clear distinction between them. When you understand the meaning of the lunar eclipse and the new moon and how they are formed, you will understand what the difference between the two is. New moon is a phase of the moon. Lunar eclipse is a phenomenon that happens because of earth’s shadow. When it comes to new moon, earth’s shadow does not have anything to do with it. Lunar eclipse means the moon is up there in the sky, but it becomes invisible for some time. However, in the case of the new moon, the moon cannot be seen throughout the night.
What is a Lunar Eclipse?
The earth revolves around the sun while the moon revolves around the earth. While making their revolution, when the sun, the earth, and the moon come in a straight line, 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. If the moon gets totally invisible, it is called total lunar eclipse, while it is a partial lunar eclipse when only a part of the moon is invisible. It can take up to six hours for the moon to pass completely through the earth’s shadow. A total eclipse can last up to 1 ¾ hours.
It is interesting to note that lunar eclipses, in some countries, are looked upon as omens that bring both good and bad results. People adhere to certain rules and regulations pertaining to their body and food while a lunar eclipse is in progress. It is scientifically believed that lunar eclipses are not frequent as solar eclipses.
What is a New Moon?
Since the moon is the earth’s satellite, it goes around the earth. When going around the earth, it is positioned in different places. From the earth, the way in which we see how moon and sun are positioned in the sky is known as the phases of the moon. There are different phases such as new moon, new crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, last quarter, and old crescent. Once old crescent passes, then it is a new moon again. When the moon is in the new moon phase, you cannot see the moon in the sky. Two weeks is roughly the time between observing a new moon and a full moon. New moon is known as the beginning of the lunar phases. The reason we cannot see the moon during the new moon phase is simple. It is because the side of the moon that is illuminated by the sunlight is turned away from the earth. New moon is caused by the moon’s orbit around the earth and not by the way the lunar eclipse is caused.
What is the difference between Lunar Eclipse and New Moon?
• New moon is one of the phases of the moon. Lunar eclipse is when the earth’s shadow temporarily covers the moon.
• New moon is caused by the moon going around the earth while it is revolving around its axis. Lunar eclipse happens when the earth comes between sun and moon. Then, the earth’s shadow covers the moon.
• New moon, as a phase, lasts for a day. Then, only it slowly changes to the next phase in moon phases. Lunar eclipse does not last that long. It can last several hours but does not last a day.
• There are different types of lunar eclipses such as total lunar eclipse, partial lunar eclipse, and penumbral lunar eclipse. Penumbral lunar eclipse is very hard to see even with gear. Partial lunar eclipse and total lunar eclipse can be easily observed.
• There are no types in new moon since new moon itself is a phase of the different phases of the moon. We can observe the phase of the new moon as there is no moon in the sky that day.
- April 2014 lunar eclipse in California by –  (CC BY-SA 3.0)
- New moon phase by Daniel Kmiec (CC BY 3.0)