Universe Guide

What is an Eclipse (Lunar and Solar)?

Eclipse Facts

Introduction ( Solar )

A solar Eclipse is where the Moon comes between the Earth and Sun causing an area of the planet to fall into complete darkness. The area of totality, I'll refer to it as the centre. The further from the Centre you get, the less dark it gets. Once the Sun is eclipsed,it will become slightly cold. Either side of the line of totality, you will see a partial solar eclipse but it won't go dark, it'll stay light but when you look at the Sun With SPECIAL GLASSES, you will see a "bite" taken out of the Sun.

The reason why we get a Solar Eclipse in different parts of the world is because the Moon doesn't orbit the Sun but its orbit is at a tilt.

Earth is the only planet in that is able to experience an Eclipse because of the perfect size and position of the Moon and the Sun. The Sun is 400 times as big as the Moon but also 400 times further away. The Sun and the Moon appear in the sky the same size therefore the Moon as able to fully cover the Sun. It won't always be this case, in the far far future as the Moons orbit grows bigger, the Moon will not be able to cover the Sun and we won't be able to have an Eclipse. N.A.S.A. has calculated that the Moon is moving away from the Earth at about 3.78 centimeters a year B.B.C. . Although Eclipses will no longer therefore be possible in our Solar System in the far future, they exist on other Solar Systems in the galaxy and Universe.

Although Earth might be the only place in to have an Eclipse, it is by no means unique. Scientists have discovered that the longest stellar eclipse so far is one that involves the binary system TYC 2505-672-1 in the constellation of Leo Minor. ref:Guiness

The whole world will not go dark because the Moon is smaller than the Earth. If you had a light source and two balls, a large beach ball and a tennis ball. If you placed the tennis ball between the beach ball and the torch, it will only make part of the beach ball go dark which is why only some of the Earth is affected by the eclipse.

In Ancient times, Eclipses used to be feared as they didn't know what was causing them. The Chinese for example believed it was a giant dragon swallowing the Sun and therefore they would always makes a large amount of noise in the hope of scarring off the Dragon. The loud always worked and the Sun was saved from the dragon. Dominion Tea

The pictures are of an Eclipse in 2015 taken by an European Space Agency (E.S.A.) satellite.

ESA Satellite view of an Eclipse

Type of Solar Eclipses

Below is table of a couple of forthcoming and recent Eclipses.

AnnularApril 29th, 2014Antarctica
PartialOctober 23rd, 2014North America, Northern Pacific
TotalMarch 20th, 2015Northern Europe, Faroe Islands
PartialSeptember 13th, 2015Southern Africa, Southern indian Ocean
TotalMarch 9th, 2016Indonesia
AnnularSeptember 1st, 2016Central Africa, Indian Ocean
AnnularFebruary 26th, 2017Southern Chile, Argentina
TotalAugust 21st, 2017United States, Partial in Europe
AnnularDecember 26th, 2019Central Asia
AnnularJune 21st, 2020Central Asia
Total14th December, 2020Argentina
AnnularJune 10th, 2021Europe, North America
TotalDec 4th, 2021Antarctica
PartialApril 30th, 2022South Pacific/America

Never Look Directly at the SUN even when Eclipsed, it is Dangerous

To look at the sun, you will need to wear special visors which must be purchased from specialist places. If you are unsure about the protection these provide don't wear them. The best way and safest to is to view the eclipse in directly. Take two pieces of paper and make a tiny hole in one, place that in front of the other sheet, then look at the second sheet which will now have the projected eclipse on it.

Introduction ( Lunar )

Lunar eclipses is where the Earth comes between the Moon and the Earth. These events are more frequent in happening but don't gather the same amount of interest as Solar Eclipses do. With a Lunar Eclipse, you see all the phases of the Moon from Full Moon -> Crescent -> New Moon -> Crescent - Full Moon again. You see a full Lunar Cycle in the same night.

Types of Lunar Eclipses

Below is table of a couple of previous Eclipses.

Total16th May 2003Americas, Europe, Asia
Total9th November 2003Europe, Asia, Africa
Total4th May 2004S.America, Europe, Asia, Oz, Africa
Total28th October 2005Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia
Partial17th October 2005Asia, Australasia, North America

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