Nate and I were talking recently about solar eclipses vs. lunar eclipses. It seems like lunar eclipses are rarer than solar eclipses, just given the number of announcements we hear about each.
Both types of eclipse actually happen about the same number of times each year (usually two solars and two lunars). However, it IS more common to see a lunar eclipse, due to the different sizes of the earth, moon, and sun, as well as the different angles of the moon and sun in the sky.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon moves into the shadow of the earth. That is, it occurs when the earth is in between the sun and the moon. This type of eclipse can be seen anywhere on earth where the moon is over the horizon, which is approximately half the earth at any given time.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon is in between the earth and the sun. The shadow cast by the moon onto the earth’s surface is quite small—about 300 miles in diameter. Thus, only the people/animals/sentient things within that small disk of moon shadow as it moves across the earth will be able to see the solar eclipse.
The difference in the number of reports on lunar vs. solar eclipses might just be due to the fact that when a solar eclipse is about to happen, a lot of sources might want to report on it so that they can tell people who might expect to see it. With a lunar eclipse, it’s more like, “well, about half the world can see this, so it’s not as newsworthy.”
Maybe. I dunno.
So there you go.