Difference Between Solar and Lunar Eclipse in Tabular Form

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What is the difference between a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse? Well, in my view, the primary solar and lunar eclipse difference is that when the sun gets darker, we call it a solar eclipse. On the other hand, when the moon gets darker, we call it a lunar eclipse. Not to mention, there are so many types of solar and lunar eclipse, depending on the fact that how much of the sun or moon is obscured by another celestial object.

But, before going deep into these kinds of questions like how much of a sun or a moon gets darker and by what astronomical phenomena. Let me present you with a quick review regarding the basic difference between solar eclipse and lunar eclipse. Keep reading for a proper understanding of the subject.

 

Solar Eclipse vs Lunar Eclipse

 Solar EclipseLunar Eclipse
1.Only on a new moon day, a solar eclipse can occur.Only on a full moon day, a lunar eclipse can occur.
2.A solar eclipse occurs when the moon comes between the earth and the sun.A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth comes between the moon and the sun.
3.The eclipse of the sun takes place during the daytime.The eclipse of the moon takes place during the nighttime.
4.The duration of a solar eclipse is at most between 5 to 10 minutes.The duration of the lunar eclipse is at least 1 hour.
5.An eclipse of the sun is typically observed somewhere between 2 to 5 times a year.An eclipse of the moon is typically observed somewhere between 2 to 5 times a year.
6.It can only be observed in a few places.It can easily be observed in many places.
7.Avoid seeing the solar eclipse with naked eyes.Enjoy the glimpse of the lunar eclipse with naked eyes.
From the above-mentioned differences between lunar and solar eclipse, you got the exact overview of these two. Nevertheless, in order to get to distinguish them in detail, let us try to understand both of them in a detailed format. Keep reading!

 

What are Eclipses?

According to the astronomical definition of the eclipse, an eclipse occurs when one celestial object comes between the other two celestial objects. There are two types of eclipses. These are solar and lunar eclipse.

Not to mention, depending on the fact that how much a celestial object obscures another celestial object, the solar and lunar eclipse can be further bifurcated into many parts.

 

What is a Solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon comes between the sun and the earth. Therefore, obstructing the sunlight from falling on the surface of the earth. Moreover, this natural phenomenon can only occur on the eve of the new moon day.

Just because the size of the moon is so small as compared to the size of the sun, an eclipse of the sun can only occur for a few minutes.

Types of Solar Eclipses

types-of-solar-eclipse
Image Credit: Pinterest

Depending on the fact that how much moon is obscuring the sunlight from falling on the earth, it can be further bifurcated into four types.

Total Solar Eclipse

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon blocks out the sun’s disk entirely. And, for that to happen, the moon has to be near its perigee i.e the closest distance of the moon from the earth.

Not to mention, during the solar eclipse totality, the magnitude of the eclipse is greater than or equal to 1.

Annular Solar Eclipse

An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon does not block out the sun’s disk entirely. In other words, it only covers the central part of the sun’s disk, leaving the sun’s outer edge to form a thin ring of fire.

And, for that to happen, the moon has to be near its apogee i.e the farthest distance of the moon from the earth. Not to mention, during the annular solar eclipse, the magnitude of the eclipse is less than 1.

Partial Solar Eclipse

As the name suggests, a partial solar eclipse occurs when the moon partially blocks the sunlight from falling on the earth.

Moreover, just because the visibility of the partial solar eclipse varies, the magnitude of the partial solar eclipse does not have any fixed value.

Hybrid Solar Eclipse

A hybrid solar eclipse is nothing but a combination of the total and the annular solar eclipse. To put it differently, at one location, a hybrid kind of solar eclipse looks like the total solar eclipse.

As a result, the magnitude of the eclipse becomes greater than or equal to 1. On the other hand, at some other location, it looks like an annular solar eclipse. Therefore, as a result, the magnitude of the solar eclipse becomes less than 1.

 

Occurrence of Solar Eclipse

A solar eclipse normally occurs somewhere between 2 to 5 times a year. In fact, as per the available astronomical writings of the past century, the earth encounters an average of 2.4 eclipses of the sun every year.

Well, if I talk about the recent and upcoming solar events, here is the list of some of the recent and upcoming solar eclipses.

Recent Solar Eclipses

  • Annular solar eclipse (21 June 2020)
  • Total solar eclipse (14 December 2020)
  • Annular solar eclipse (10 June 2021)

Upcoming Solar Eclipses

 

What is a Lunar Eclipse?

A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth comes between the moon and the sun. Therefore, as a result, the earth’s shadow obstructs the sunlight falling on the surface of the moon.

Moreover, this natural phenomenon can only occur on the eve of the full moon day. Just because the size of the earth is too big as compared to the size of the moon, an eclipse of the moon can occur for more than 1 hour.

 

Types of Lunar Eclipses

types-of-lunar-eclipse
Umbra is the place where a total lunar eclipse occurs and penumbra is the place where a penumbral lunar eclipse occurs. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Depending on the fact that how much earth is obscuring the sunlight from falling on the moon, it can be further bifurcated into three types.

Total Lunar Eclipse

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon completely passes through the earth’s umbra. Not to mention, an umbra is the darkest part of the earth’s shadow.

Therefore, when the moon completely immersed into the earth’s umbra, the umbra covers the entire surface of the moon. Moreover, the total eclipse of the moon is also known as the blood moon.

 

Partial Lunar Eclipse

As the name suggests, a partial lunar eclipse occurs when the moon partially passes through the earth’s umbra.

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the earth’s penumbra. Not to mention, a penumbra is the lightest part of the earth’s shadow.

Occurrence of Lunar Eclipse

Well, both the solar and lunar eclipse occurs somewhere between 2 to 5 times a year. On the other hand, if I talk about the recent and upcoming lunar events, here is the list of some of the recent and upcoming lunar eclipses.

Recent Lunar Eclipses

  • Penumbral lunar eclipse (5 July 2020)
  • Penumbral lunar eclipse (3o November 2020)
  • Total lunar eclipse (26 May 2021)

Upcoming Lunar Eclipses

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What phase is the moon in during a solar eclipse?

ANS: A solar eclipse can only occur on a new moon day.

2. Does a solar eclipse occurs on every new moon day?

ANS: Just because the moon’s orbital path has an axial tilt of approximately 5° with respect to the earth’s orbital plane. Therefore, a solar eclipse does not occur on every new moon day.

3. What phase is the moon in during a lunar eclipse?

ANS: A lunar eclipse can only occur on a full moon day.

4. Does a lunar eclipse occurs on every full moon day?

ANS: For the same reason mentioned above, a lunar eclipse does not occur on every full moon day.

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I am a mechanical engineer by profession. Just because of my love for fundamental physics, I switched my career, and therefore I did my postgraduate degree in physics. Right now I am a loner (as ever) and a Physics blogger too. My sole future goal is to do a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, especially in the field of cosmology. Because in my view, every aspect of physics comes within the range of cosmology. And I love traveling, especially the Sole one.

2 thoughts on “Difference Between Solar and Lunar Eclipse in Tabular Form”

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