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Lunar Eclipse Activities for Kids

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What is a lunar eclipse?

A lunar eclipse happens when the moon passes through the Earth’s shadow. The result is a gradual darkening of part or nearly all the of the moon, making a partial or full eclipse, respectively.

Lunar eclipse - TheHomeschoolScientist.com
This gradual darkening of the moon is a result of the moon moving through the 2 parts of the Earth’s shadow. The “prenumbra” is the lighter part of the shadow. The effect of this shadow is barely seen in an eclipse. The “umbra” is the dark part of the shadow. This will almost totally block the light of the sun from shining on the moon.

Three Types of Lunar Eclipses

Lunar eclipses can be seen in three types.

  • Prenumbral These occur when the moon passes through just the Earth’s prenumbral shadow. These eclipses are very subtle. The change to the view of the moon is hard to see.

  • Partial – These happen when part of the moon passes through the Earth’s umbral shadow. Partial eclipses are easy to see because of the dark umbral shadow cast on the moon.

  • Total – These happen when the entire Moon passes through Earth’s umbral shadow. Total eclipses are brilliant to behold. Almost the entire moon is covered by the umbral shadow except for a ring of light around the moon that is often bright red or orange. The color of the ring is caused by dust in the Earth’s atmosphere  bending the light that strikes the moon.

How To View A Lunar Eclipse?

To find the date and times of upcoming lunar eclipses, go to this handy eclipse calculator which works by city.

A lunar eclipse is easily visible to the naked eye. Of course, you can always use binoculars or telescopes to get a better view. You might be able to see the moon through your windows or you might need to go outside. Just remember, lunar eclipses are long processes. If you miss a few minutes trying to find the right viewing area and method, you won’t miss much

Have fun!

Request and Download our FREE Moon Phases and Lunar Eclipse Activities for Kids.

Lunar activities for kids
 

Other Resources and Ideas for Lunar Eclipse Lessons for Kids

From NASA/JPL: Evaluate a Lunar Eclipse (Grades 3-12)

Visit NASA’s lunar eclipse page


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