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Different Stages in Lunar Eclipse

There are 7 stages during the occurrence of an eclipse (see Figure 1):

  1. "Moon enters penumbra" - the first contact of the Moon and the Earth's penumbra
  2. "Moon enters umbra" - when the Moon enters the Earth's umbra, this is the start of partial lunar eclipse
  3. "Total eclipse begins" - when the Moon touches the umbra internally, at this time, the Moon is totally immersed in the umbra and total eclipse starts
  4. "Middle of eclipse" - occurs when the centre of the Moon is closest to the centre of the Earth's umbra
  5. "Total eclipse ends" - when the Moon touches the umbra internally again, this signifies the end of total eclipse
  6. "Moon leaves umbra" - the time when the Moon touches the umbra externally, this is the end of partial lunar eclipse
  7. "Moon leaves penumbra" - when the Moon leaves the penumbra


During a partial eclipse, the "Total eclipse begins" and "Total eclipse ends" would not occur.  In a penumbral eclipse, there would only be "Moon enters penumbra",  "Middle of eclipse" and "Moon leaves penumbra".

It shows difference states of eclipse


Figure 1      The different stages during a lunar eclipse


Last revision date: <27 Dec 2012>