Lunar eclipse and new moon are two important concepts in astronomy. There may be a confusion between the two terms as both these terms deal with the position of Sun, Earth and Moon. Although there may be some similarities between these two concepts, there is a spring difference between these two terms.
Lunar Eclipse vs New Moon
The main difference between lunar eclipse and new moon is that lunar eclipses happen when the Earth is in the middle of the Sun and the Moon, while new moons happen when the Moon is in the middle of the Sun and the Earth.
However, the above is not the only difference. A comparison between both the terms on certain parameters can shed light on subtle aspects:
Comparison Table Between Lunar Eclipse and New Moon (in Tabular Form)
|Parameters of Comparison||Lunar Eclipse||New Moon|
|Meaning||Lunar eclipse is a situation where the Earth comes in between the Sun and the Moon. This leads to the shadow of Earth falling across the Moon.||The new moon means a phenomenon to describe a phase of the Moon in its orbital cycle around the Earth. In the new moon phase, the Moon is situated between Earth and Sun, and hence no portion of the moon can be observed.|
|Positioning||Lunar eclipse deals with positioning of Earth||New moon deals with the positioning of Moon|
|Side objects||Earth is between Sun and Moon||Moon is between Sun and Earth|
|Visibility during night time||Lunar eclipse can be seen on the entire night||The moon cannot be viewed during the entire night during a new moon|
|Appearance||Lunar eclipse becomes visible on full moon night||Solar eclipse happens during the new moon|
|Period of occurrence||For an hour or so||Throughout the night|
|Reason for occurrence||Lunar eclipse happens because Earth gets in the way of the light from the Sun and stops the light from hitting the Moon.||New moon happens because of the changing phase of Moon as it is travelling in its monthly orbit|
|Frequency||Lunar eclipse happens periodically or usually twice in a year||New moon happens once in a month|
|Effect||During the lunar eclipse, the sunlight is blocked from reaching the moon||No specific effect|
|Types||There are multiple types of lunar eclipse such as partial lunar eclipse, total lunar eclipse, penumbra lunar eclipse.||There are no such types of new moon.|
What is Lunar Eclipse?
Lunar eclipse means an eclipse in which the moon appears darkened as it passes into the earth’s shadow. It is an eclipse in which the full moon passes partially or wholly through the umbra of the earth’s shadow. In simple words, a phase in which Earth crosses between the moon and the sun, casting a shadow of Earth onto the moon is called a lunar eclipse.
Lunar eclipse is also known as “Chandra Grahan” in India. lunar eclipse only occurs a) during a full moon b) when the moon goes through Earth’s shadow. Earth has two categories of shadows viz. umbra (conical part of the shadow excluding all light from the primary source) and the penumbra (space of partial illumination between perfect shadow and the full light).
Lunar eclipse has three forms. They are: a) partial lunar eclipse- an eclipse in which the moon is not completely immersed in the umbra of the earth’s shadow b) total lunar eclipse- an eclipse which happens when the Earth is between the Sun and the Moon and the Moon is shadowed, and c) penumbral lunar eclipse- an eclipse in which the Moon, Earth, and Sun are not perfectly aligned i.e. when the Moon passes through the faint and outer part of Earth.
What is New Moon?
The new moon is the phase of the moon when it is in concurrence with the sun so that its dark side is towards the earth. The new moon can also be referred to a scenario where the thin crescent moon is seen shortly after sunset for a few days after the actual occurrence of the new moon stage. The new moon is one of the phases of moon as it is moving in the orbit between the sun and the earth.
The new moon occurs every month when the moon and the sun join together. The new moon is invisible in the first stage to the people, later it slowly emerges as a very thin curved shape figure less than it’s full size.
The new moon signifies the preliminary satellite stage of the moon’s orbit in the universe. Therefore, the new moon is considered as a symbol of new beginnings. People consider this day as auspicious to commence a new work or assignment. The new moon is considered as a monthly gift to the humankind from space.
Main Differences Between Lunar Eclipse and New Moon
- Lunar eclipse deals with the positioning of Earth. The new moon deals with the positioning of the Moon.
- Lunar eclipses occur when the Earth comes in the middle of the Sun and the Moon. The new moon occurs when the Moon is in between Sun and the Earth.
- Lunar eclipse can last for an hour approximately. On a new moon, the moon is not visible during the entire night that means the process occurs for the entire night.
- Lunar eclipse happens commonly twice in a year. New moon happens every month.
- Lunar eclipse is not a phase of earth, it is a situation where the shadow of the earth is covering the moon for a brief period. The new moon can be considered as one of the phases of the moon as it travels in its orbit.
- There are multiple types of lunar eclipse. There are not any specific categories of new moon.
Lunar eclipse and new moon both have significance, especially from a spiritual perspective. Lunar eclipses are viewed as an event that has the capability of bringing about transformational change.
Many people feel that a lunar eclipse can be a significant event for someone to reflect upon his/her life and give a chance for future. On the other hand, a new moon denotes a new beginning to one’s life. That’s why many people believe that this day is a great one to begin something auspicious with renewed zeal and energy.