Q:

What conditions are required for a lunar eclipse?

A:

Quick Answer

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon travels entirely through the Earth's shadow. When the Moon goes through part of the Earth's shadow, a partial eclipse is observed.

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Full Answer

For a total eclipse to be seen, the Earth, Moon and Sun must be in perfect alignment. The Moon often takes on a reddish tint during a total eclipse because a small amount of sunlight creeps around the edges of the Earth and reflects off the surface of the Moon, creating the appearance of a blood-red moon. Before humans understood the science behind an eclipse, this rare event sparked fear and confusion.

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Related Questions

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    What are lunar features?

    A:

    Lunar features are the physical characteristics present on the moon, such as the craters, maria and highlands. The maria are the dark, flat plains on the moon whereas the highlands are raised areas on the surface of the moon. These features are the result of the moon being hit by space rocks, asteroids and comets.

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  • Q:

    What are the lunar highlands?

    A:

    The lunar highlands are elevated areas on the moon that were created by material that accumulated in layers from the ejecta of craters. The highlands are riddled with craters and the rocks found there are thought to be between 3.84 and 4.48 billion years old. These craters were formed by the intense bombardment on the moon in the early days of its existence.

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  • Q:

    How long is the lunar cycle?

    A:

    The lunar cycle lasts slightly over 27 Earth days, or the same amount of time it takes the moon to complete one orbit around the Earth and complete one lunar day. The phases of the lunar cycle change based upon the moon's location along its orbit.

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    How did the lunar maria form?

    A:

    Scientists believe that lunar maria formed from lava flows caused when the surface of the moon was disrupted by the impacts of gigantic meteors and comets. Maria is the plural of "mare," which is Latin for sea. One of the most famous of the lunar maria is the Sea of Tranquility, which was the site of the first moon landing.

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