A solar eclipse occurs when the moon comes in between the path of sunlight and the Earth, casting a shadow on the Earth. Solar eclipses in general are quite rare (only a couple a year), but the moon’s shadow only covers a small portion of the Earth so seeing one is an amazing opportunity. A total solar eclipse, in which the sun is fully blocked by the moon, is even more rare occurring about every year and a half somewhere on Earth. One particular spot on Earth can expect to see a solar eclipse for just a few minutes every 375 years. The next solar eclipse will be on June 21, 2020 and can be seen in a tight strip spanning Africa and Asia. A total solar eclipse will occur on December 14, 2020 and be visible from parts of Chile and Argentina.
A lunar eclipse occurs as the Earth gets in the way of sunlight hitting the moon. The moon turns dark as the Earth’s shadow covers it up. Earth’s atmosphere can make the moon appear red during the eclipse as other colors are absorbed. Lunar eclipses are also very rare due to the tilt of Earth axis causing the Earth, sun, and moon to not line up perfectly every month. Penumbral lunar eclipses are more common than total lunar eclipses and occur when the moon crosses through the large and faint outer part of Earth’s shadow. The next lunar eclipse will be visible from June 5-6, 2020 across Asia, Europe, Africa, and Australia. A total lunar eclipse will be visible on May 26, 2021 in parts of the western US, western South America, and south-east Asia.