I’ve been hearing everywhere that there is a lunar eclipse tonight (October 18, 2013), and that I should be looking out for it! But what is a lunar eclipse? Well very simply, a lunar eclipse occurs when the moon falls into the earth’s shadow. It can only happen during a full moon, and it lasts for a few hours. The peak time of this lunar eclipse is at 7:50 E.D.T., so make sure you take a look! The neat thing about lunar eclipses is that when the moon falls into the earth’s shadow the moon will appear red! Definitely a sight worth seeing!
Now I’d heard the terms lunar eclipse and solar eclipse. And I found myself curious about another eclipse…what is a solar eclipse? A solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the sun and earth, and blocks the sun. A solar eclipse can only be seen when there is a new moon (which is the first phase of the moon). The image you see is stunning, and very fleeting. A solar eclipse can only be seen for a few minutes, whereas a lunar eclipse can be seen for several hours.
Both of these amazing eclipses are formed thanks to syzygy which is the “straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies in a gravitational system” (thanks, wikipedia!).
And a fun fact for all my theatre nerds out there: The musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, starts with Rona Lisa Peretti’s flashback of spelling the word “syzygy” correctly to win the third annual spelling bee!