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How lunar eclipses work (infographic)

What makes the moon turn dark and red? Find out in this SPACE.com infographic.
What makes the moon turn dark and red? Find out in this SPACE.com infographic.
(Image: © Karl Tate, SPACE.com Contributor)

There are three types of lunar eclipses — total, partial and penumbral — with the most dramatic being a total lunar eclipse, in which Earth's shadow completely covers the moon.

Here's how it works: Earth casts two shadows that fall on the moon during a lunar eclipse: The umbra is a full, dark shadow. The penumbra is a partial outer shadow. The moon passes through these shadows in stages. When the moon is in the penumbral shadow, the eclipse is not so noticeable. But when the moon is in the umbral shadow, the apparent change in color is far more dramatic.

Editor's note: If you capture an amazing lunar eclipse photo and would like to share it with Space.com for a story or gallery, send images and comments to managing editor Tariq Malik at spacephotos@space.com. 

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