What is an Eclipse?
Facts about the Eclipse
- An eclipse occurs when one object gets in between you and another object and blocks your view. From Earth, we routinely experience two kinds of eclipses: an eclipse of the Moon and an eclipse of the Sun.
- When Earth orbits the suns, it comes between the Sun and the Moon, and throws a dark shadow across the Moon. This is known as a Lunar eclipse.
- When the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun it blocks the light of the Sun and a shadow of the Moon is cast on Earth’s surface. This is know as a Solar eclipse.
3 Types of Solar Eclipse:
Total, Partial, and Annular.
During a total eclipse, the Moon completely covers our view of the Sun and is only visible from a narrow strip (about 150 km wide) of Earth’s surface at any one time.
A partial eclipse will also occur if the Sun, Moon, and Earth are not precisely lined up.
The eclipse cannot be total unless the center of the Moon’s shadow is able to strike Earth.
The eclipse type that occurs when the Moon is at its farthest distance from Earth is an annular eclipse. The Moon then appears too small to completely block out the disc of the Sun.
During a solar eclipse, the Moon actually casts two shadows toward Earth called Umbra and Penumbra.
The Umbra shadow becomes smaller as it reaches Earth and is also the dark center of the Moon’s shadow.
A total solar eclipse, or a complete blocking out of the Sun’s light, can only be seen by those who live in the area covered by the Umbra.
The Penumbra shadow becomes larger as it reaches Earth. People who live in the area of Earth covered by the penumbra will see a partial eclipse.
A total solar eclipse can only occur when two events happen at the same time.
- The first event is a new Moon: This phase of the Moon occurs when the Sun is almost directly behind the Moon, and we see only a sliver of the Sun’s light reflected by the Moon. During this time the Moon and the Sun appear close together.
- The second event: Moon must be in the right position, directly in the line of sight between Earth and the Sun.
These two events occur at the same time about once every year and a half.
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