How long is the longest solar and lunar eclipse?

A total solar eclipse can last at the most only 7 minutes and 40 seconds. A total lunar eclipse can last 1 hour and 40 minutes. But the longest known stellar eclipse (when a moving object such as a planet blocks the light coming from a distant star, it is called stellar eclipse or occultation) lasted 8 years!

The duration of a solar eclipse is set by the relative speeds of the Moon’s shadow, sweeping west to east at 3,200 km/h, and of the observer who is traveling west to east with the Earth’s spin. The Earth moves fastest at the equator: 1,600 km/h. The observer there is more nearly keeping up with the shadow than any other observer and sees the longest eclipse.

Similarly, a total eclipse of the Moon can last as long as it takes the Moon to pass through the widest part of the Earth’s shadow. Unlike a solar eclipse, which is visible only along a confined track across the Earth’s surface, a lunar eclipse can be seen by anyone who can see the Moon.

More reading:
Eclipse (Wikipedia)

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