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What is solar eclipse ?

news-details Image Source May 25, 2021 19:34 IST · 1 min read

A solar eclipse is a natural phenomenon, which occurs when the new Moon moves between the Sun and Earth and blocks sunlight coming from sun to cast a shadow on parts of Earth.

The solar eclipses seem to travel from one place to another because the Moon's shadow is not big enough to engulf the entire planet and the Moon and Earth are in constant motion.

A solar eclipse can only occur when the Moon is close enough to the ecliptic plane and the Sun, the Moon, and Earth are in a perfect or near perfect straight line, an alignment called syzygy by astronomers.

1) Total eclipse: A total eclipse occurs when the Sun, the Moon and Earth are exactly in line, the Moon completely obscures the intensely bright light of the Sun and only a fainter solar corona is visible. Total eclipses are rare because the Moon's orbit is tilted at more than 5 degrees to the Earth's orbit around the Sun, its shadow usually misses Earth.

2) Annular eclipse: When the Sun and Moon are exactly in line with the Earth but the apparent size of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun, the Sun appears as a very bright ring(annulus) surrounding the dark disk of the Moon, this is called an annular eclipse.

3) Partial eclipse: A partial eclipse occurs when the Sun and Moon are not exactly in line with the Earth and the Moon only partially obscures the Sun.

4) Hybrid eclipse: A hybrid eclipse occurs when the magnitude of an eclipse changes during the event such that the eclipse appears to be total from some locations and annular from other locations.

Special eye protection or indirect viewing techniques should be used to view solar eclipse because looking directly at the Sun may cause the Sun's UV radiation to burn the retina in eyes, which can lead to permanent eye damage or blindness.

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