Lunar eclipses occur two to four times each year. Lunar eclipses only occur during full moons, but because the orbit of the moon is tipped five degrees relative to Earth's orbit around the sun, not every full moon results in an eclipse. When an eclipse does occur, it's visible to everyone on Earth's night side.
There are three types of lunar eclipses. The moon's position relative to the umbra, which is the dark center of an eclipse shadow, determines which type is visible.
About 35 percent of lunar eclipses are total eclipses, and they are the best-known and most-watched type. Although direct sunlight is completely blocked by Earth, indirect light still reaches the moon's surface. The earth's shadow filters out blue-colored light, giving the moon a spectacular rust-colored hue.
A partial lunar eclipse occurs when only part of the moon passes through Earth's shadow. Partial eclipses make up about 30 percent of all lunar eclipses, and they are visible to the naked eye.
Penumbral lunar eclipses, which make up about 35 percent of lunar eclipses, occur when the moon passes through the earth's penumbra, which is the partial shadow that is visible around the umbra's periphery. This type of eclipse is difficult to see with the naked eye, and usually is of interest only to astronomers.Learn More
The average temperature on the moon largely varies based on the time of day and the location on the moon, but the average temperature at the lunar equator is 260.6 degrees Fahrenheit at noon and -279.4 degrees Fahrenheit at night. The temperature on the moon varies based on where the sun is shining at the time.Full Answer >
Most people know that the moon's gravitational influence has an effect on the tides on Earth, but some scientists also believe that the presence of the moon played an important role in making Earth habitable to begin with. The interplay between the Earth and the moon mirrors events that occurred throughout the early solar system, as a Mars-sized object may have hit the Earth, sending some of the mantle into orbit that soon cooled into the moon. Over time, the relationship between the Earth and the moon may well have assisted the advent of life.Full Answer >
The moon completes one full rotation about its axis in the same time it takes Earth to complete a full revolution, resulting in one side always turning to face the parent planet in sync with its orbit. This phenomenon is known as tidal locking.Full Answer >
The effect that the explosion of the moon would have on Earth depends on the nature of the blast. If the moon were atomized, the result would be extremely different than if it broke into large chucks, which would fly off in every direction. The former event would have serious repercussions for the planet, in terms of gravity, average length of a day, and the tides, whereas the latter event would be the end of all life on Earth.Full Answer >