Lunar Eclipses

During a lunar eclipse, Earth gets in the way of the sun’s light hitting the moon. That means that during the night, a full moon fades away as Earth’s shadow covers it up.

A composite of seven images shows the full moon at perigee, or supermoon, during a total lunar eclipse on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Denver. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls •
Video Credit: NASA

The moon can also look reddish because Earth’s atmosphere absorbs the other colors while it bends some sunlight toward the moon.

Sunlight bending through the atmosphere and absorbing other colors is also why sunsets are orange and red. During a total lunar eclipse, the moon is shining from all the sunrises and sunsets occurring on Earth!

NASA TV provided coverage of Super Blue Moon Lunar Eclipse on January 31, 2019. The full moon was the third in a series of “supermoons,” when the Moon is closer to Earth in its orbit — known as perigee — and about 14 percent brighter than usual. It was also the second full moon of the month, commonly known as a “blue moon.” As the super blue moon passed through Earth’s shadow, viewers in some locations experienced a total lunar eclipse. While in Earth’s shadow, the moon also took on a reddish tint – which is sometimes referred to as a “blood moon.”


While the sun is the main focus of a solar eclipse, our moon plays the most crucial role in creating this unique event.

This video tutorial explains what happens during a total solar eclipse and a partial eclipse and how often they both occur. It also explains how a solar eclipse differs from a lunar eclipse, and gives a helpful tip on how to remember the difference. In addition, the video examines how the two parts of the moon’s shadow, the umbra and penumbra, affect how we see an eclipse on the Earth, and illustrates the surprising true shape of the umbra. The video concludes by highlighting how data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has helped us better map a solar eclipse’s path of totality. Visualizations included in this piece showcase the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse happening in the United States.

This video explains how our moon creates a solar eclipse, why it’s such a rare event to see, and how data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has enhanced our ability to map an eclipse’s path of totality.Credit: NASA, Music Provided By Killer Tracks: “Bring Me Up” – Kampe Wikstrom

Video Credits: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


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Lunar Eclipse Infographic from

Lunar Eclipse Infographic from