Would it theoretically be possible for a solar eclipse to occur within a few days or even a few hours after a total lunar eclipse?

The star, moon, and planet from which the event is being observed do not have to be within our solar system.

  • $\begingroup$ Does your solar eclipse need to be total as well? Can you provide a limit delay for this to occur? Does it need to be on the same spot on the planet or can it happen somewhere else ? I think it is possible. $\endgroup$
    – Kii
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ On November 2012, there was a solar eclipse on the 13th and a lunar eclipse on the 28th. So there's a 15 days delays between the two events. $\endgroup$
    – Kii
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 16:12
  • $\begingroup$ Does this need to be on something like our Earth, with only a single moon, or could it be on any planet? I think if you throw a second moon into the mix, it could very easily happen. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 20:39
  • $\begingroup$ Does "a few days" on this planet mean earth-standard 24 hours, or can the planet just spin really slowly? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 21:12
  • $\begingroup$ Any constraints on the number of moons and their orbital periods? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 4:30

3 Answers 3


You need at least half a moon cycle between the two events if they involve the same moon; lunar eclipse can only occur during the full moon and a solar eclipse only during a new moon.

Unless of course your world has more than one moon.

  • $\begingroup$ And the orbital mechanics make one occurring the half-orbit (half moon cycle) apart quite likely. Also, depending on orbital inclination of the moon, they may be more or less frequent. (in Kerbal Space Program, Mun, with its zero inclination eclipses the Sun and is eclipsed by Kerbin every single cycle, half a cycle apart.) $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 16:21
  • $\begingroup$ Could you provide a bit of maths to prove this ? $\endgroup$
    – Kii
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 12:17
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It doesn't really need math, a lunar eclipse needs earth to be between the sun and the moon. A solar eclipse needs the moon to be between the sun and the earth. It takes 28 days for the moon to orbit fully, so 14 days to go from one side to the other. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 12:48
  • $\begingroup$ @TimB Totally makes sense ! Although basic, it's still maths ! :D $\endgroup$
    – Kii
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 13:16
  • $\begingroup$ If a moon has a low orbit and is small, then “lunar eclipse” will last almost all time from ¼ to ¾ (zero or little orbital inclination is assumed). $\endgroup$ Commented May 17, 2016 at 12:21

Yes, theoretically possible, though unlikely.

Certainly not for our Earth-Moon-Sun system, but it's theoretically possible, though unlikely for a different system. For this to occur you need a moon with an orbital period of at least twice the time delay between the two celestial events (months of several hours or several days long). My intuition is that this is fine for a very small moon, which is also very easy to fully eclipse, but for a moon to be both fast enough and large enough for a full solar eclipse it would likely be orbiting within the Roche limit (assuming the planet is within a hibital distance from a large enough star).


You'd need to be more specific on the conditions "within a few days or even a few hours".

If 15days is sufficient enough for you, then it is a likely event unless one of the two eclipse's period is a multiple of the other (very unlikely).

As pointed out by Ratchet Freak in his/her answer, "you'd need at least half a moon cycle between the two events if they involve the same moon". Considering our moon cycle is 28 days, 15days between the two eclipses seems to be a pretty short interval.

It has happened on Earth on November 2012. The November 28, 2012 lunar eclipse was visible from around Est-Asia and Oceania. The November 13, 2012 solar eclipse was also visible around this part of the globe.

A few maths and Modulo operation could even calculate the next occurrence of such an event.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .