Eclipses - Moon and Sun &

Other Planetary Eclipses




The June 2011 total eclipse



Schematic diagram of the shadow cast by the Earth. Within the central umbra shadow, the Moon is totally shielded from direct illumination by the Sun. In contrast, within the penumbra shadow, only a portion of sunlight is blocked.






Lunar Eclipse

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes behind the Earth so that the Earth blocks the Sun's rays from striking the Moon. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle. Hence, a lunar eclipse can only occur the night of a full moon. The type and length of an eclipse depend upon the Moon's location relative to its orbital nodes. Unlike a solar eclipse, which can only be viewed from a certain relatively small area of the world, a lunar eclipse may be viewed from anywhere on the night side of the Earth. A lunar eclipse lasts for a few hours, whereas a total solar eclipse lasts for only a few minutes at any given place, due to the smaller size of the moon's shadow. Also unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safe to view without any eye protection or special precautions, as they are no brighter (indeed dimmer) than the full moon itself.


As seen by an observer on Earth on the imaginary celestial sphere, the Moon crosses the ecliptic every orbit at positions called nodes twice every month. When the full moon occurs in the same position at the node, a lunar eclipse can occur. These two nodes allow two to five eclipses per year, parted by approximately six months. (Note: Not drawn to scale. The Sun is much larger and farther away than the Moon.)



Phases of the Moon





Phases of the Moon ( They are Partial and Total Eclipses)


Understanding The Moon Phases

Have you ever wondered what causes the moon phases? We all know that its appearance changes over time. But why? The good way to understand the phases of the moon is to examine an earth-moon-sun diagram:




Diagram Explanation

The illustration may look a little complex at first, but it's easy to explain.

Sunlight is shown coming in from the right. The earth, of course, is at the center of the diagram. The moon is shown at 8 key stages during its revolution around the earth. The moon phase name is shown alongside the image. The dotted line from the earth to the moon represents your line of sight when looking at the moon. To help you visualize how the moon would appear at that point in the cycle, you can look at the larger moon image. This means for the waning gibbous, third quarter, and waning crescent phases you have to mentally turn yourself upside down. When you do this, you'll "see" that the illuminated portion is on your left, just as you see in the large image.

One important thing to notice is that exactly one half of the moon is always illuminated by the sun. Of course that is perfectly logical, but you need to visualize it in order to understand the phases. At certain times we see both the sunlit portion and the shadowed portion -- and that creates the various moon phase shapes we are all familiar with. Also note that the shadowed part of the moon is invisible to the naked eye; in the diagram above, it is only shown for clarification purposes.

So the basic explanation is that the lunar phases are created by changing angles (relative positions) of the earth, the moon and the sun, as the moon orbits the earth.






Partial solar eclipse on May 20, 2012





A Total eclipse in the umbra.
B Annular eclipse in the antumbra.
C Partial eclipse in the penumbra



Solar Eclipse


As seen from the Earth, a Solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, and the Moon fully or partially blocks the Sun. This can happen only during a new moon, when the Sun and the Moon are in conjunction as seen from Earth. In a total eclipse, the disk of the Sun is fully obscured by the Moon. In partial and annular eclipses only part of the Sun is obscured.

If the Moon were in a circular orbit close enough to the Earth and in the same orbital plane, there would be total solar eclipses every single month. However, the Moon's orbit is angled at more than 5 degrees to the earth's orbit around the sun (see ecliptic) so its shadow at new moon often misses the Earth. The Earth's orbit is called the ecliptic plane as the Moon's orbit must cross this plane in order for an eclipse (both solar as well as lunar) to occur. In addition, the Moon's actual orbit is elliptical, often taking it far enough away from the Earth so that its apparent size is not large enough to block the Sun totally. The orbital planes cross each year at a line of nodes resulting in at least two, and up to five, solar eclipses occurring each year; no more than two of which can be total eclipses.[1][2] Total solar eclipses are nevertheless rare at any particular location because totality exists only along a narrow path on the Earth's surface traced by the Moon's shadow or umbra.

An eclipse is a natural phenomenon. Nevertheless, in some ancient and modern cultures, solar eclipses have been attributed to supernatural causes or regarded as bad omens. A total solar eclipse can be frightening to people who are unaware of their astronomical explanation, as the Sun seems to disappear during the day and the sky darkens in a matter of minutes.

As it is dangerous to look directly at the Sun, observers should use special eye protection or indirect viewing techniques. People referred to as eclipse chasers or umbraphiles will travel to remote locations to observe or witness predicted central solar eclipses…..










Easter Island Total Solar Eclipse on July 11 2010  ( 6 mins)


Easter Island Total Solar Eclipse July 11 2010!
In Easter Island this is the first total solar eclipse in the last 1,400 years!




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Other Planetary Eclipses & Alignments



An exceptional alignment of Planets

 in our Solar System on

 August 16–17, 1987



Harmonic Convergence


An exceptional alignment of Planets in our Solar System on
August 16–17, 1987


The Harmonic Convergence is the name given to the world's first globally synchronized meditation, which occurred on August 16–17, 1987, which also closely coincided with an exceptional alignment of planets in our solar system (see #Astrological alignment below).

The timing of the Harmonic Convergence was allegedly significant in the Maya calendar, with some consideration also given to European and Asian astrological traditions. The chosen dates have the distinction of allegedly marking a planetary alignment with the Sun, Moon and six out of eight planets being "part of the grand trine."




Mars - Phobos - Solar Eclipse





Curiosity Rover Snaps Best Mars Solar Eclipse Photos Ever


NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has captured the sharpest-ever images of a solar eclipse as seen from the Red Planet.

The 1-ton Curiosity rover snapped pictures with its telephoto lens as Phobos, the larger of Mars' two tiny moons, blotted out much of the solar disk on Aug. 17.

"This event occurred near noon at Curiosity's location, which put Phobos at its closest point to the rover, appearing larger against the sun than it would at other times of day," Mark Lemmon of Texas A&M University, a co-investigator for Curiosity's Mastcam instrument, said in a statement. "This is the closest to a total eclipse of the sun that you can have from Mars." [Latest Photos from NASA's Curiosity Rover]

Phobos does not completely cover the sun as seen from the Red Planet's surface, so the Aug. 17 event was an annular or "ring of fire" eclipse, like the one that wowed skywatchers here on Earth from Australia to Hawaii in May of this year.











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