What Is It When Earth's Shadow Blocks Out the Moon?

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When the Earth's shadow blocks out the moon, it has to do with the position of all objects involved. Find out about what it is when the Earths' shadow blocks out the moon with help from an experienced education professional in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: About Astrophysics & Outer Space
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Eylene Pirez, and I’m an astrophysicist. And, this is, “What is it when the Earth’s shadow blocks out the moon?” So, let’s talk about the position of the moon, and the sun, and the Earth. So, generally, when we have the sunlight coming from one direction, we can see the new moon at this position. Then, we see first quarter when the moon is at this position, then we see full moon, and here we see third quarter. Generally, when we have this position at the full moon, we can see that the Earth is between the moon and the sun. So, it can easily block out the sunlight, and actually we won’t be able to see a full moon at all. In that case, we will see the lunar eclipse. And, that’s what happens when the Earth’s shadow completely is casted on the moon. So, this is a lunar eclipse. You might be wondering, “Why don’t we have lunar eclipses every month? If we have a full moon every month, we should have a lunar eclipse every month.” So, the problem is that the moon is actually not in the same gravitational plane – it doesn’t orbit at the same plane as the sun. So, it is tilted by five degrees, and this causes us to not always have a lunar eclipse. Sometimes, because of this tiltation, we can see a partial lunar eclipse, and that’s when the Earth’s shadow covers only part of the moon, and not the total thing. My name is Eylene Pirez, and I’m an astrophysicist. And, this is, “What is it when the Earth’s shadow blocks out the sunlight and is casted on the moon?”

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