A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes in a direct line between the Earth and the sun. The moon’s shadow travels over the Earth’s surface and blocks out the sun’s light as seen from Earth.
A solar eclipse is a spectacular phenomenon as the sun and the moon appear of almost the same size. You’d be astonished to know that in reality, the sun remains much larger and far away from the moon.
What happens during a solar eclipse?
As the Moon comes between the Sun and the Earth, the Moon blocks out some of the Sun’s light casting a long shadow on the Earth. A small “bite” appears on the western edge of the Sun. The Moon continues to move in front of the Sun, until only a small crescent of light can be seen.
The sky begins to darken up as the crescent of the Sun remains in the sky. Thin wavy lines called shadow bands appear on plain surfaces on the ground. Shadow Bands are caused by the irregularities in the Earth’s atmosphere.
As the crescent disappears, and the disappearance is followed by tiny specks of light around the edge of the Sun. These specks of light are called Baily Beads and are known to be the last rays of Sunlight shining through the valleys on the edge of the Moon.
Suddenly the sky turns dark. However, if you look towards the horizon you will see a reddish glow which looks as mesmerising as a Sunset.
Types of solar eclipse:
It is known that the moon’s shadow has 2 parts:
These 2 parts of the moon’s shadow classify the parts of solar system. We have mainly 3 types of solar eclipse:
- Total Solar Eclipse: The entire portion of the Sun gets overshadowed by the moon. If the umbra passes over you, the sun will be totally blocked out. The sun will be as dark as the night sky.
- Partial Solar Eclipse: Only a part of the Sun gets overshadowed. When the penumbra passes over the sun, only a part of it gets hidden. The sky will get slightly hidden.
- Annular Solar Eclipse: This is a peculiar case in which the moon is so far away in its orbit the the umbra never reaches the earth. Only a small part of the sun is visible in the form of a ring-like sliver light.
Some interesting facts about the Solar Eclipse:
- There are at least 2 solar eclipses each year and they remain partial most of the time.
- On an average, a total lunar eclipse is visible every 18 months. However, from any one location on earth, total eclipses take place on an average of once in several hundred years.
- For an eclipse to take place, the moon must be in the correct phase during an eclipse season; for a solar eclipse, it must be a new moon. This condition makes solar eclipses.
When the total eclipse of the Sun is completed, the shadow of the Moon passes and sunlight appears once again at the western edge of the Sun. The corona disappears, Baily’s Beads appear for a few seconds, and then a thin crescent of the Sun becomes visible. Daylight returns and the Moon continues to orbit the Earth. The total solar eclipse is over.
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