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Author Topic: What is the difference between a solar and lunar eclipse?  (Read 2886 times)

Lively

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Lively asked the Naked Scientists:

Hello sir,

what is the difference between solar eclipse and lunar eclipse? Do they have any similarities? What makes the sun look red in the morning during winter times?


What do you think?


 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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What is the difference between a solar and lunar eclipse?
« Reply #1 on: 18/05/2008 19:49:41 »
In a lunar eclipse, the Earth moves through a direct line between the sun and the moon. That causes the light from the sun to the moon to be blocked by the Earth. As the Earth moves across the line, its shadow moves across the moon's surface.

Solar eclipses happen when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun. In that case it is not causing a shadow, it is the moon itself that passes across the face of the sun.

I think you'll find the sun looks red in the morning & evening in all seasons. It's to do with how its light interacts with the atmosphere.

As light passes through the atmosphere, it is scattered by the molecules in the air. When the sun is close to the horizon, its light travels through the atmosphere at a shallower angle. It travels through a greater thickness of atmosphere and therefore encounters more molecules and, hence, there is more scattering. Increased scattering means there is less blue light reaching your eyes. If you take the blue out of sunlight, you're left with red.

This cannot, however, explain red eyes  :D
« Last Edit: 18/05/2008 19:57:44 by DoctorBeaver »
 

Offline turnipsock

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What is the difference between a solar and lunar eclipse?
« Reply #2 on: 18/05/2008 20:18:03 »
Usually about 14 days is the answer.

When we get a lunar eclipse, there is usually a solar eclpise two weeks before or after.
 

lyner

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What is the difference between a solar and lunar eclipse?
« Reply #3 on: 18/05/2008 23:49:28 »
There are many more Lunar eclipses visible from a given place on Earth because the Earth has a much bigger shadow than the Moon. A small shadow of the Moon rushes across the Earth, when they are lined up right. The Moon, rushes through a big shadow belonging to the Earth and the Lunar eclipse can be seen by many more people, when it happens.
But, mostly, Earth, Sun and Moon are not lined up. When you look up at a full Moon, you have no way of telling (without looking it up!) that the Earth's shadow may be very close to but just missing the Moon
 

Offline LeeE

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What is the difference between a solar and lunar eclipse?
« Reply #4 on: 19/05/2008 10:39:47 »
The redness does vary a little bit due to seasonal factors but I believe there's a greater variation between the morning and evening redness.  In both cases, it's due to the temperature of the air and the amount of suspended dust within it.  Higher temperature air is more energetic and can keep more dust in suspension, whereas cooler air allows some of this dust to settle.  There also tends to be more available dust to be suspended in the air at the end of the day because it's stirred up by human activities.

It's interesting that the questioner focussed on the winter morning sun, when the air is likely to be at it's coldest.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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What is the difference between a solar and lunar eclipse?
« Reply #5 on: 19/05/2008 20:30:52 »
Usually about 14 days is the answer.

When we get a lunar eclipse, there is usually a solar eclpise two weeks before or after.

hmmmm
 

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What is the difference between a solar and lunar eclipse?
« Reply #5 on: 19/05/2008 20:30:52 »

 

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