The Different Kinds of Lunar Eclipse
A lunar eclipse can take three different forms:
A penumbral eclipse is when the moon passes through the Earth's penumbral shadow, but this is very difficult to see.
A partial lunar eclipse occurs when a portion of the moon passes through the Earth's umbral shadow. This is easy to see and can be viewed by the naked eye without any danger of damage to the eye whatsoever.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the whole moon disappears as it passes through the Earth's umbral shadow. This is when the moon emits very different vibrant colors which are breathtakingly beautiful.
Watching Beauty In Action
Seeing a lunar eclipse depends on your location. When it is very visible in one part of the world, it can't be see in other parts. Only where it is night can you see the wonderful display of the eclipse. Such a phenomenon is very safe to watch. It is not even necessary to use a telescope and when you watch what a treat you are in for! The colors range from deep browns, very dark grays, various shades of brilliant reds and many shades of bright oranges. As the moon passes, these colors vary depending on the amount of dust in the Earth's atmosphere. If you are lucky enough to witness this spectacular show of beauty, the chances of seeing the same thing twice is pretty remote.
A lunar eclipse is a rare event because it doesn't happen on a monthly basis. It only happens when the moon is in direct alignment with the Earth and the Sun. The sun and the moon are actually on opposite sides of the Earth. Most of the time the moon is tilted in respect to the Earth's orbit and passes either above or below the line where all three celestial bodies are in a straight line. It is only about every six months that conditions may be right for a lunar eclipse.
Don't Miss the Next Show
Depending on where you live on this Earth, look up the time of the next eclipse in your area. Usually it is announced on the radio or television giving people ample time to enjoy the thrill of watching the Earth block out the moon with the most brilliant display. It is an amazing sight to see. For a closer look, use a telescope to bring the eclipse a little more up close and personal.