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Because of the tilt of the Moon's orbit, the Moon usually passes above or below the Sun at new moon and above or below Earth's shadow at full moon. Sometimes, though, the full moon or new moon crosses the plane of Earth's orbit. By a coincidence of nature, even though the Moon is about 400 times smaller than the Sun, it is also about 400 times closer to Earth than the Sun is, so the Moon and Sun look almost exactly the same size from Earth. If the Moon lines up with the Sun and Earth at new moon (when the Moon is between Earth and the Sun), it blocks the Sun’s light from Earth, creating a solar eclipse. If the Moon lines up with Earth and the Sun at the full moon (when Earth is between the Moon and the Sun), Earth’s shadow covers the Moon, making a lunar eclipse.

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