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Name: Jonathan
Status: other
Grade: 6-8
Location: TX
Country: USA
Date: N/A 

Why does a lunar eclipse last longer than a solar?

Dear Jonathan,

Thank you for asking this question. It is very good and appropriate.

The reason lunar eclipses last longer is that when a lunar eclipse takes place, anybody who can see the Moon in the sky can see the eclipse. The Earth's shadow soars into the sky, and when the Moon passes through it, an eclipse is visible for anyone who can see the Moon at the time of the eclipse.

On the other hand, the Moon's shadow, which works for eclipses of the Sun, is tiny by comparison. An eclipse is visible (a solar eclipse, that is) over a much smaller area. The total phase may be visible in a long arc that may be as narrow as a few miles wide, to perhaps 100 miles.

The next total solar eclipse visible from our Adirondack Astronomy Retreat, will occur on April 8, 2024. The next total from Tucson is some 500 years away.

With best wishes

David H. Levy

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