An eclipse is an astronomical event that occurs when an astronomical object
Astronomical object
Astronomical objects or celestial objects are naturally occurring physical entities, associations or structures that current science has demonstrated to exist in the observable universe. The term astronomical object is sometimes used interchangeably with astronomical body...

 is temporarily obscured, either by passing into the shadow of another body or by having another body pass between it and the viewer. An eclipse is a type of syzygy
Syzygy (astronomy)
In astronomy, a syzygy is a straight line configuration of three celestial bodies in a gravitational system. The word is usually used in reference to the Sun, the Earth and either the Moon or a planet, where the latter is in conjunction or opposition. Solar and lunar eclipses occur at times of...


The term eclipse is most often used to describe either a solar eclipse
Solar eclipse
As seen from the Earth, a solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, and the Moon fully or partially blocks the Sun as viewed from a location on Earth. This can happen only during a new moon, when the Sun and the Moon are in conjunction as seen from Earth. At least...

, when the Moon's shadow crosses the Earth's surface, or a lunar eclipse
Lunar eclipse
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes behind the Earth so that the Earth blocks the Sun's rays from striking the Moon. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle. Hence, a lunar eclipse can only occur the night of a...

, when the Moon moves into the Earth's shadow.