What Causes An Eclipse Of The Sun

Last Updated on July 29, 2021 by

To get a picture of what happens during an eclipse, think of these three bodies: the earth, the sun, and the moon. The moon revolves around the earth. The sun shines out there beyond the moon. But sometimes, as the moon goes around the earth, it passes directly between the earth and the sun.  And that produces an eclipse of the sun.

An eclipse of the sun occurs only when the moon is new, for when the moon is on that side of the earth facing toward the sun. If its path lay directly in line with the orbit of the earth about the sun, an eclipse would take place at every new moon. But in its trip around the earth, which takes about 29} days, the moon passes sometimes above and below the path of the earth.

Astronomers can predict very accurately the exact time that an eclipse will take place and how many hours and minutes it will last. They are also able to tell in advance whether an eclipse will be “total”, “annular”,  or “partial”.

Eclipse Of The Sun

If the moon hides the sun completely, the eclipse is total. The moon is not always the same distance from the earth, and often it is too far from the earth to hide the sun completely. Then, when an eclipse takes place, the moon is seen as a dark disc which covers the whole sun except a narrow ring around its edge. This thin circle of light is called “the annulus”, meaning ring. This is an annular eclipse. An eclipse is partial whenever only part of the disc of the moon comes between the sun and the earth.

Every year there must be at least two eclipses of the sun, and there may be as many as five. At any one place on the earth’s surface, a total eclipse of the sun will be visible only once in about 360 years. This is why astronomers have to travel great distances to “catch” a total eclipse of the sun.

Is It Dangerous To Go Out During Solar Eclipse?

Absolutely. It’s safer to be outside during a solar eclipse than in the bright sunlight


How does a sun eclipse happen?

A solar eclipse happens when the Moon – which is always moving in the same orbit around Earth – is positioned between the Sun and the Earth. The Moon’s shadow moves across the Earth and the Moon is suddenly covered. This can only happen during a new or full moon and is an extremely rare event.

What two conditions must be met to have an eclipse?

When a solar eclipse occurs, the moon passes between the earth and the sun, casting a shadow on the earth. The path of this shadow is called the path of totality, and if you’re in the center of the path of the shadow, you will see a total eclipse. A total eclipse occurs when the moon is on the opposite side of the earth from the sun, and the shadow of the moon falls on the earth. This happens only when the moon is close to the earth.

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