The lunar eclipse is an astronomical event that attracts millions of people: behind this phenomenon lies an unexpected mystery.
The most loved astronomical phenomena in the world are undoubtedly the solar eclipse and the lunar eclipse. It is no coincidence that many civilizations of the past have left their testimony on these mysterious events. In fact, some peoples they venerated the lunar eclipse, as they believed that negative life events occurred due to the presence of the eclipse. And not only that: the ancient Egyptians thought that the Moon was devoured by an enormous sacred sow, while the Maya believed that a mythological jaguar made the Moon disappear.
However, the first documented lunar eclipse dates back to January 29, 1,137 BC in China. The precious testimony, written on a document, was found in 280 AD in the tomb of a Chinese nobleman. Today, the wonderful astronomical event continues to attract millions of people of all ages.
The mystery of the lunar eclipse
This wonderful event is associated with the Sun-Earth-Moon system, therefore what characterizes the event is the shadow of the Earth projected on the lunar disk. In other words, when the Sun illuminates the Planet it automatically creates a shadow area on the opposite side of the Earth’s globe. So, the lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon begins to enter this shadow zone and to hide behind the Earth. In reality, this mysterious “dark spot” that slowly covers the Moon is simply the Earth’s shadow. Furthermore, there are three types of lunar eclipses: total, partial and penumbral.
Of course, everything depends on the inclination of the Moon’s orbit: in some cases the Earth’s natural satellite enters totally into the shadow zone, thus creating a total lunar eclipse; in other cases it partially enters the shadow cone, so a part of the lunar disk continues to be illuminated by the Sun, while the rest is obscured by the Earth’s shadow. In this case this is called a partial lunar eclipse. The penumbral one, however, occurs when the Moon passes through the external penumbra of the Earth, therefore the lunar disk appears less illuminated than usual, but not completely darkened. Furthermore, we must remember that this beautiful astronomical event occurs when the three celestial bodies align.
More specifically, when the Earth is in a central position and the Moon and the Sun on the two opposite sides, i.e. on the right and left of the planet. For example, ithe Sun illuminating the left side of the Earth, creates a shadow area on the right side. The Moon, in turn, orbiting on the right side of the planet enters the Earth’s shadow cone, thus forming the lunar eclipse. As regards appointments with lunar eclipses, there will be a partial lunar eclipse on 25 March and 18 September 2024, while on 14 March 2025 the total lunar eclipse will be observed.
The post first appeared on www.biopianeta.it