# What are at least 3 similarities and differences between a lunar eclipse and a solar eclipse? During what phases of the moon do a solar and lunar eclipse occur?

Dec 8, 2017

A solar eclipse can only happen at a new moon and a lunar eclipse can only happen at a full moon.

#### Explanation:

A solar eclipse can only happen at a new moon when the Sun, Moon and Earth are aligned so that the shadow of the Moon falls on the Earth's surface.

A lunar eclipse can only happen at a full moon when the Sun, Earth and Moon are aligned so that the shadow of the Earth falls on the Moon surface.

Similarities

1. Every year there are at least 2 of each type of eclipse.
2. There can be up to 5 of each type of eclipse in a year, but the total number of eclipses is at most 7.
3. The Moon's orbit is inclined at ${5}^{\circ}$ to that of the Earth. So an eclipse can only occur when the Moon is near one of its nodes where the two orbits intersect.
4. All eclipses of both types can be predicted with great accuracy.

Differences

1. Solar eclipses happen at new moon. Lunar eclipses happen at full moon.
2. Solar eclipses are only visible from a narrow strip of land over which the Moon shadow passes. Lunar eclipses are visible from the whole nighttime hemisphere.
3. Solar eclipses can be total, annular, hybrid or partial. Lunar eclipses can be total, partial and penumbral.
4. Solar eclipses can only be safely be viewed with the naked eye during totality. Lunar eclipses can always be safely viewed with the naked eye.
5. The Moon's surface can't be seen during a solar eclipse, but it can be during a lunar eclipse.