News World Solar eclipse and lunar eclipse: The next in Australia

Solar eclipse and lunar eclipse: The next in Australia

A solar eclipse occurred in Winconsin, USA on August 21, 2017.
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Australia last saw a total lunar eclipse on January 31. It made the moon appear dark orange and red and was labelled the Super Blue Moon.

It was the first time sky gazers had seen the phenomenon in 35 years. It was seen in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere.

Now Australia is eagerly waiting the next solar eclipse and lunar eclipse.

An eclipse occurs when there is a total or partial masking of a celestial body by another, along an observer’s line of sight.

When are the next lunar and solar eclipses?

  • The next partial solar eclipse in Australia will occur on July 13, 2018.
  • There will be two more on December 26, 2019 and June 21, 2020.
  • The next total lunar eclipse will occur in Australia on July 27, 2018.
  • The next partial lunar eclipse will be on July 16, 2019 and the next penumbral one (when the moon moves through the faint, outer part of the Earth’s shadow) will be on January 10, and June 5, 2020.

What is the difference between  a lunar and solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse is the obstruction of the sun by the moon. This occurs when the moon passes between the mun and Earth, casting a shadow that can be seen on Earth.

During a solar eclipse, the Earth, moon and sun all align. It can only take place during the phase of a new moon. A new moon is when the moon appears as a slender crescent after being in conjunction with the sun.

During a solar eclipse, the moon casts two shadows. One is called the umbra; the other is called the penumbra.
During a solar eclipse, the moon casts two shadows. Photo: NASA

A lunar eclipse is the blocking of the moon by Earth’s shadow. A shadow is created when Earth passes directly between the sun and the moon, resulting in a lunar eclipse.

They align in a different order compared to the solar eclipse. First is the moon, Earth and then the sun. This means the Earth’s shadow hides the moon from view.

When Earth passes directly between the sun and the moon, a lunar eclipse takes place.
When Earth passes directly between the sun and the moon, a lunar eclipse takes place. Photo: NASA

How often do eclipses occur?

According to NASA, lunar eclipses occur less often than solar eclipses however each lunar eclipse is visible from over half the Earth.

In one calendar year, the maximum number of eclipses are four solar and three lunar.

Solar eclipses happen once every 18 months and last for a few minutes. A lunar eclipse usually lasts for a few hours.

Is there any safety concerns when viewing an eclipse?

Yes. When viewing a solar eclipse, it is important to not look directly at the sun. It can permanently damage your eyes.

Proper safety equipment like sunglasses are needed to look at any type of solar eclipse.