Sun and the Moon are celestial bodies. They are the principal sources of light on Earth. The Sun is a star that is very hot and burning. When it illuminates the Earth, we say it’s day time. Whereas, the Moon is the Earth’s satellite that rotates around it. When the Sun does not throw its light on Earth i.e. during the nights, the moon reflects the light from the Sun to the earth. An eclipse refers to the total or partial hiding or covering of a celestial body by another celestial body. The Solar and Lunar eclipse involves Sun, Moon, and Earth. In this article, we shall study the meaning and the difference between solar eclipse and lunar eclipse in detail.
What is the Solar Eclipse?
When the Sun, moon, and earth are in alignment and the moon appears in between the earth and the sun blocking the sunlight fully or partially, it is a Solar Eclipse. When the moon hides the sunlight completely, it is a total solar eclipse and when it hides it partially, it is a partial or annular solar eclipse. A solar eclipse is popularly known as Surya Grahan.
What is Lunar Eclipse?
When the sun, moon, and the earth are in exact alignment and the earth appears in between the moon and the sun throwing its shadow on the moon thereby hiding the moon fully or partially, it is Lunar Eclipse. Lunar eclipses are total lunar eclipse, partial lunar eclipse, and penumbral lunar eclipse. A lunar eclipse is also known as Chandra Grahan. It takes place only when the moon is in a position directly opposite to the sun and also when the earth is exactly in between them.
Thus, it occurs on a full moon day and twice a year. As we know the moon is 300 times closer to the Earth in comparison to the sun, the chances of earth hiding the moon are more. Thus, a lunar eclipse occurs more frequently that solar eclipse. Also, the time duration of lunar eclipse is more as compared to the Solar eclipse.
Difference Between Solar Eclipse and Lunar Eclipse
The important difference between Solar Eclipse and Lunar Eclipse
|Parameter||Solar Eclipse||Lunar Eclipse|
|Meaning||It occurs when the moon appears in between the sun and the earth.||It occurs when the earth appears in between the moon and the sun.|
|Duration||In this case, the moon totally or partially blocks the sunlight for a few minutes.||In this case, the earth shadows the moon totally or partially for an hour or so.|
|Frequency of occurrence||It occurs once in 18 months.||It occurs twice a year.|
|Time of occurrence||It occurs during the day time.||It occurs during the nights.|
|Visibility||It can be seen only from a few places.||It can be seen in many places.|
|Moon day||It occurs on a new moon day.||It occurs on a full moon day.|
|Types||Total solar eclipse, partial solar eclipse, hybrid solar eclipse, and annular solar eclipse.||Total lunar eclipse, partial lunar eclipse, and penumbral lunar eclipse.|
|Naked eyes||It is unsafe to see it through naked eyes. Hence, protective glasses are needed to see it so that it does no harm to the eyes.||It is completely safe to see it through naked eyes.|
After studying the difference between Solar Eclipse and Lunar Eclipse, let us understand some more details.
Types of Solar Eclipse:
- Total Solar Eclipse: When the moon completely blocks the sunlight and solar corona becomes visible, it is a total solar eclipse.
- Annular Solar Eclipse: When the apparent size of the moon is smaller than that of the sun, and therefore the sun looks like a ring surrounding the moon, it is an annular solar eclipse.
- Hybrid Solar Eclipse: When an eclipse looks like a total eclipse in some parts of the world whereas it looks like an annular eclipse in other parts, it is a hybrid solar eclipse. However, these are very rare in occurrence.
- Partial Solar Eclipse: When the moon and sun are not in exact alignment and the moon only covers the sunlight partially, it is a partial solar eclipse.
Types of Lunar Eclipse:
- Total Lunar Eclipse: When the earth completely blocks the sunlight to reach the moon, but some sunlight that reaches the earth’s atmosphere gets refracted and gives the moon a dim glow, it is a total lunar eclipse. In this case, we can see the blood moon.
- Partial Lunar Eclipse: When the earth, moon and the sun are not in exact alignment and earth overshadows only a part of the moon, it is a partial lunar eclipse.
- Penumbral Lunar Eclipse: When the moon is in the earth’s penumbral shadow and thus is faintly shadowed by the Earth, it is Penumbral lunar eclipse.
FAQs about Solar Eclipse and Lunar Eclipse:
Q.1. What is the blood moon?
Answer. During the total lunar eclipse, the earth completely blocks the sunlight from reaching the moon. Thus, the sunlight that reaches the earth, gets refracted by the earth’s atmosphere. This light gives a reddish color to the moon. Thus, a totally eclipsed moon is often known as the blood moon.
Q.2. What do you understand by Solar corona?
Answer. Corona refers to an aura of plasma that surrounds the stars. As the sun is also a star, it too has a solar corona. Its corona extends to millions of kilometers into outer space. It is easily visible during a total solar eclipse.