An eclipse occurs when a celestial body , such as a moon or a planet, moves in the shadow of another celestial body. There are two types of eclipses on Earth: one known as a lunar eclipse and the other as a solar eclipse . A solar eclipse is a spectacular sight and quite a strange astronomical event. This type of eclipse is visible only from a limited and determined area.
A solar eclipse is when the moon passes directly or almost directly between the sun and the earth , causing the moon to block most of the sun or to block it completely for a short period of time.
What is a solar eclipse?
A solar eclipse occurs when the New Moon moves between the Sun and the Earth , blocking the Sun’s rays and casting a shadow over certain parts of the Earth. The moon’s shadow is not large enough to encompass the entire planet, so the shadow is always limited to a certain area . This area changes during the course of the eclipse because the Moon and the Earth are in constant motion : the Earth continuously rotates around its axis as it orbits the Sun, and the Moon orbits the Earth. This is why solar eclipses seem to travel from one place to another
Throughout history there have been many eclipses of the sun, some of them were recorded and others were not. One of the oldest recorded eclipses happened in 2137 BC in China . However, the Greeks were the first to understand its frequency and the distance between one eclipse and another, which they called the saros period . This period established that every 223 synodic months there would be a cycle of eclipses.
In the year 1652 there was a solar eclipse that impacted thousands of people because it was not normal for the sun to suddenly darken, a situation that was seen apocalyptically , so much so that that day was named as Shady Monday .
Each culture has its own history about eclipses, what is known in general terms is that these phenomena were attributed to their gods , among whom were the sun and the moon . And most of the time, they were symbols of bad omens .
Among the main characteristics that we can mention of solar eclipses are the following:
- Solar eclipses happen only when the moon is in the new moon phase .
- A solar eclipse happens approximately every 18 months and lasts only a few seconds or minutes .
- In a solar eclipse, the umbra can be observed , which corresponds to the part that is completely shaded, and the central region of the moon’s shadow is also observed .
- In a solar eclipse, the outer zone is known as penumbra .
- They are associated with bad omens and mythological events.
- As the day darkens, it gives the feel and appearance of night.
- The moon covers the solar disk .
Types of solar eclipse
There are three different types of solar eclipse, which are detailed below:
- Total eclipse : it can only be seen in a certain area of the earth. In this type of eclipse you can see the outermost area of the sun, the solar corona and the bulges .
- Annular eclipse : only a small part of the light can be observed in the form of a ring , since the Sun and the Moon are aligned but the size of the moon is smaller than that of the star king.
- Partial eclipse : in the partial eclipse of the sun, only a part of the Sun’s disk can be observed, so the corona or the chromosphere cannot be observed . The semi -darkness of the moon’s shadow passes through an area of the earth’s surface, for this reason if a person is located in the semi-darkness they can observe a partial eclipse .
There is also a type of eclipse that is known by the name of ” hybrid ” and it is very strange to witness. It occurs when the eclipse is seen as solar in certain places on earth, and at the same time, it is observed as an annular eclipse in other places.
There are 5 stages in a total solar eclipse:
- A partial eclipse begins (first contact): the Moon begins to become visible on the disk of the Sun, and it appears as if it has been bitten.
- The total eclipse begins (second contact): the entire disk of the Sun is covered by the Moon. Observers can see Baily’s beads and the effect of the diamond ring , just before totality.
- Totality and maximum eclipse : the moon covers completely the sun and only the corona of the sun is visible. This is the most dramatic stage and is the time when the sky is dark , the temperatures can fall and birds and animals often look for places to sleep. The midpoint of totality time is known as the peak of the eclipse.
- Total extremes of the eclipse (3rd contact): the Moon begins to recede, and the Sun reappears.
- Extremes of the partial eclipse (4th contact): T he moon stops overlapping the disk of the sun, ending the eclipse.
Why a solar eclipse occurs
The first thing to know is that the Sun is much larger than the Moon. Despite this, the distance between one and the other can lead to the moon being able to cover the light of our star almost completely, and this is how a solar eclipse occurs.
How to see a solar eclipse
In order to observe an eclipse it is necessary to use a special filter for eclipses, in some cases, you can use filters to weld number 14 and place them in glasses , binocular lenses and telescopes . Despite the use of glasses, it is not advisable to observe the sun for more than 30 seconds , even if these instruments are used.
You should avoid using cameras photographic or video, binoculars , tinted windows , filters tinted or colored films to see the eclipse. Preferably do not use ordinary sunglasses or homemade filters , as they do not provide any type of security for your eyes.
How long does it last
The duration of the total phase of a solar eclipse can last several minutes , approximately between 2 and 7.5, managing to reach just over two hours while the entire phenomenon occurs .
When will be the next
July 13: Partial Solar Eclipse
This event will not be seen in many parts of the world, since the shadow of the Moon will catch the Earth in Antarctica and the coasts of Australia . From the French scientific station Dumont d’Urville on the Antarctic coast, one third of the hidden solar diameter can be observed.
August 11: Partial Solar Eclipse
It will be the last of this year’s partial solar eclipses and will be seen at its best from Siberia , in the East Asian part of Russia . Scandinavia , Russia and East Asia will also be able to observe it.
Solar eclipses are important to science because through them scientists can perform a series of tests and test technologies and measuring instruments that will aid future research.