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Glossary term: Eclipse

Description: An eclipse occurs when an astronomical object is temporarily obscured by either passing into the shadow of another body or when another body passes between the viewer and the object. Examples for eclipses are lunar eclipses when the Earth stands between the Sun and the Moon and the Moon moves into the Earth´s shadow or solar eclipses, when the Moon moves between the Earth and the Sun and blocks the Sun´s light. If the moving body only obscuring a small part of other body this phenomenon is called a transit.

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Term and definition status: This term and its definition is still awaiting approval

The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".

Related Media

Two astronomers view a lunar eclipse. Between them in the partly cloudy sky, a series of bright circles trace a curved path

The Eclipse Between Us, by Muhammad Rayhan, Indonesia

Caption: Second place in the 2021 IAU OAE Astrophotography Contest, category Total lunar eclipse. Total lunar eclipses belong to the rather spectacular celestial events and can be observed easily with and without a telescope. Here we see the stages of the total lunar eclipse of 31.1.2018 photographed in Indonesia: starting with the entry of the full moon disk into Earth's round umbra, the totality as Blood Moon, and the beginning of the Moon's exit from Earth's umbra until moonset.
Credit: Muhammad Rayhan/IAU OAE
License: CC-BY-4.0 Creative Comments Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) icons
A composite of images of the Moon. Along the sequence of images, the Moon's colour changes from grey to red and back to grey.

Red Moon, by Daniel Henrion, France

Caption: Third place in the 2021 IAU OAE Astrophotography Contest, category Total lunar eclipse. Time-lapse images of a total supermoon lunar eclipse that took place on 28 September 2015. The photos show the Moon during the time it moved through the Earth´s umbra: Earth´s umbra touched the Moon´s outer limb at 1.07 a.m. UTC (upper left corner) and left the Moon´s surface at 4.27 a.m. UTC (lower right corner).
Credit: Daniel Henrion/IAU OAE
License: CC-BY-4.0 Creative Comments Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) icons