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Solar eclipse

Solar eclipse

When the Sun, Earth, and the Moon are arranged in a straight line, the Moon can partially or completely obscure the Sun.

Geography

Keywords

solar eclipse, Sun, eclipse, shadow cone, penumbra, umbra, shadow, light phenomenon, sunlight, annular eclipse, Moon, Earth, astronomical object, astronomy, astronomer, geography

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Questions

  • Is it true that the Moon is in synchronous rotation with Earth?
  • Is it true that we always see the same side of the Moon from the Earth?
  • Is it true that during a solar eclipse the Moon blocks the disc of the Sun?
  • Is it true that during a total eclipse nothing can be seen of the Sun?
  • Is it true that total solar eclipses occur at any given place every 10 years?
  • Is it true that during an annular eclipse the Moon is at perigee?
  • What is the relative position of the Sun, the Moon and the Earth during a Solar eclipse?
  • How long does it take for the Moon to complete on orbit around the Earth?
  • What is the relative position of the orbital planes of the Sun, the Moon and the Earth during a Solar eclipse?
  • What does the term 'synchronous rotation' refer to?
  • What is the umbra?
  • What is the penumbra?
  • When can one experience a total solar eclipse?
  • When can one experience a partial solar eclipse?
  • When can we experience an annular solar eclipse?

Scenes

Position of the Sun, the Moon and the Earth

  • Sun
  • sunlight
  • Moon
  • Earth

A solar eclipse is a spectacular phenomenon visible from Earth with the naked eye. Eclipses take place when a celestial object intersects the line of view between another two.

Viewed from Earth, the Moon seems the same size as the Sun. That is why the Moon can completely obscure the disc of the Sun during a total solar eclipse. This happens when the Moon, as it orbits the Earth, aligns with the Sun and the Earth, exactly between the two. Once a month the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, but we don't see a solar eclipse every time, because the Moon’s orbital plane is slightly tilted compared to the Earth's orbital plane around the Sun.

Shadow cones

  • Sun
  • sunlight
  • Earth
  • Moon
  • orbit of the Moon - The Moon completes an orbit - in an elliptical orbit - around the Earth in 27.3 days. It takes the same amount of time to complete one orbit as it does to rotate on its axis. Therefore, we always see the same side of the Moon. This is called synchronous rotation.
  • penumbra - A portion of sunlight reaches this region.
  • umbra - The region where the Earth blocks all direct sunlight.

There is a cone of shadow on the side of the Earth opposite the Sun. This is the shadow cast by the Earth. The Moon also has a cone of shadow.

Total eclipse

  • Sun
  • sunlight
  • Earth
  • Moon
  • orbit of the Moon - The Moon completes an orbit - in an elliptical orbit - around the Earth in 27.3 days. It takes the same amount of time to complete one orbit as it does to rotate on its axis. Therefore, we always see the same side of the Moon. This is called synchronous rotation.
  • penumbra - A portion of sunlight reaches this region.
  • umbra - The region where the Earth blocks all direct sunlight.

Sometimes the orbital planes of the Sun, the Moon and the Earth coincide. The Moon is between the Earth and the Sun: this is called the New Moon. The Moon casts a shadow on the Earth. How do we see this from the Earth? The disc of the Moon covers the disc of the Sun. This is called a solar eclipse. However, depending on where we are, we have a different view of it.

Sunshine lights the Earth until the Moon covers some of the light. When this happens, the Sun disappears from our sight, and a part or all of it is invisible from the Earth. Both the Moon and the Earth are in motion relative to the Sun, and thus the shadow moves along the surface of the Earth in a narrow strip. Observing the Sun from this strip, when the cone of the moon's shadow reaches the surface of the Earth, we experience a total solar eclipse. The Sun grows dark, but only for up to 8 minutes. However, we can see the chromosphere and the corona of the Sun. Since the shadow strip is very narrow, solar eclipses only occur at any given place once every 300 years.

Partial eclipse

  • Sun
  • sunlight
  • Earth
  • Moon
  • orbit of the Moon - The Moon completes an orbit - in an elliptical orbit - around the Earth in 27.3 days. It takes the same amount of time to complete one orbit as it does to rotate on its axis. Therefore, we always see the same side of the Moon. This is called synchronous rotation.
  • penumbra - A portion of sunlight reaches this region.
  • umbra - The region where the Earth blocks all direct sunlight.

When the observer is in the penumbra of the Moon, the Moon only partially blocks the Sun, and thus this is called a partial eclipse. This phenomenon is visible in a wide strip of about 1,000 km. A partial eclipse can be seen before and after a total eclipse.

The distance of the Moon from the Earth is not always the same, due to its elliptical orbit. When the Moon is further than average from the Earth (near the apogee), the tip of the cone of its shadow does not reach the surface of the Earth, and the Moon looks smaller than the Sun, so the Sun appears as a bright ring surrounding the outline of the Moon. This is called an annular eclipse.

Narration

A solar eclipse is a spectacular phenomenon visible from Earth with the naked eye. Eclipses take place when a celestial object intersects the line of view between another two.

Viewed from Earth, the Moon seems the same size as the Sun. That is why the Moon can completely obscure the disc of the Sun during a total solar eclipse. This happens when the Moon, as it orbits the Earth, aligns with the Sun and the Earth, exactly between the two. Once a month the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, but we don't see a solar eclipse every time, because the Moon’s orbital plane is slightly tilted compared to the Earth's orbital plane around the Sun.

There is a shadow cone on the side of the Earth opposite the Sun. This is the shadow cast by the Earth. The Moon also has a shadow cone.

Sometimes the orbital planes of the Sun, the Moon and the Earth coincide and as the Moon is between the Earth and the Sun, it casts a shadow on the Earth. How do we see this from the Earth? The disc of the Moon covers the disc of the Sun, so the Sun grows dark, but only for up to eight minutes. Observing the Sun from the 100-200 km wide strip where the Moon’s shadow moves along the surface of Earth, we experience a total solar eclipse.

Solar eclipses only occur at any given place once every 300 years. It is because the angle between the orbital planes of the Moon and Earth is , so most of the time the shadow cone of the Moon does not reach the Earth’s surface.

When the observer is in the penumbra of the Moon, the Moon only partially blocks the Sun, and thus this is called a partial eclipse. This phenomenon is visible in a wide strip of about 1,000 km. A partial eclipse can be seen before and after a total eclipse.

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