DAVID A. HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID A. HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Total lunar eclipse. Artwork showing the positions of the Earth, Moon and Sun during a total lunar eclipse. Total lunar eclipses occur when the Earth moves between the Sun and the Moon, and casts its shadow across the surface of the Moon. As seen here, the cone of Earth's shadow is much larger than the Moon's width at the same point, and because of this, totality can last up to a couple of hours. Lunar eclipses can only occur at a full Moon. They do not occur every full Moon as the Moon's orbit is slightly inclined to the Earth's orbit around the Sun.
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