CHRIS COOK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CHRIS COOK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Lunar eclipse near totality. A lunar eclipse takes place when the Moon passes into the shadow of the Earth. The lunar day is interrupted as the Earth passes in front of the Sun as seen from the Moon. The moonlight seen from Earth (which is reflected sunlight) is reduced to the light refracted by the Earth's atmosphere. Depending on how much dust is in the atmosphere, the moonlight can turn a rusty red colour. Lunar eclipses occur only at Full Moon, and then only when the Earth and Moon are correctly aligned (about 2-3 times a year). On the surface of the Moon, the dark areas (called maria or seas) are ancient lava flows.
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