Solar and Lunar Eclipses

General Description

This simulation models the occurrences of solar and lunar eclipses. Moon's orbital inclination of 5.145 degrees with respect to the ecliptic (the Earth-Sun orbital plane) is what is responsible for solar and lunar eclipses not occurring every month. In addition, the orbital plane of Moon precesses every 8.85 years, the so-called precession of the apsides. The inclination, precession, and the motion of Moon and Earth are depicted (the size of Sun, Earth, and Moon and the size of Moon's orbit are not shown to scale). The illuminated sides of Earth and Moon and the regions of possible eclipses (in orange and red) are also depicted. In the Sky View, the motion of Sun and Moon across the sky (+/- 7 degrees from the ecliptic) are shown. Moon's phase is shown and solar and lunar eclipses can occur on the ecliptic when Earth, Sun, and Moon line up properly.

Additional simulations can be found on the OSP ComPADRE site.



Todd K. Timberlake (

Wolfgang Christian (

Mario Belloni (