Q:

What is the difference between a solar and lunar eclipse?

A:

Quick Answer

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth so that the Moon's shadow falls on the Earth. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes between the Sun and Moon and the Sun casts the Earth's shadow on the Moon. Both events happen only when the Sun, Moon and Earth are aligned.

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What is the difference between a solar and lunar eclipse?
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Full Answer

Solar eclipses are total, partial or annular. A total eclipse occurs when the Sun is blocked entirely. In a partial eclipse, only a portion of the Sun is blocked. An annular eclipse occurs when the Moon is in orbit at its farthest point and the sun causes a ring of light to appear around the Moon.

Lunar eclipses occur at night and only when the Moon is directly opposite the Sun. A lunar eclipse is easier to see than a solar eclipse because the Moon is much closer to the Earth. Watching a lunar eclipse is possible without wearing eye protection. A solar eclipse happens during the day and is unsafe to watch without protective eye wear. Solar eclipses are rare and short in duration. Few people are able to see them. A lunar eclipse lasts a few hours and occurs more frequently.

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