What’s the difference between a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse?

(WWLP) – There several important differences between a solar and a lunar eclipse.

A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, and the moon casts a shadow on the earth. This takes place during the day.

A lunar eclipse takes place at night when the Earth comes between the sun and the moon and the earth casts a shadow on the moon.

Read more: Solar Eclipse 2017

One of the most important difference is that you can safely look at a lunar eclipse with a naked eye, but you’ll need eye protection to look at the sun.

You’re likely to see several lunar eclipses during your lifetime. But that’s not the case for a solar eclipse.

“Lunar eclipses are a lot more common because when the moon is in the Earth’s shadow, the moon is physically changing appearance,” Dr. Richard Sanderson of the Springfield Museums explained. “So half of the earth facing the moon can see it.”

The next lunar eclipse will happen January 31, 2018, weather permitting.