Solar Eclipse

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Solar Eclipse

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon gets between Earth and the Sun, and the moon casts a shadow over Earth. It is a natural phenomenon which can only take place at the phase of new moon, when the moon passes directly between the Sun and Earth and its shadow fall upon Earth’s surface.

There are four types of solar eclipses that can occur during this natural phenomenon. Solar eclipse can be predicted, but as a rule, it occurs at least twice each year and sometimes as many as five times in a year, which is rare. The moon’s distance from the Earth and Earth’s distance from the sun will determine the type of solar eclipse. The following diagram explains how this phenomenon occurs:

There are two distinct parts of the Moon’s shadow created during an eclipse:

Umbra: The umbra is the dark centre portion of a shadow (inner core).

Penumbra: The penumbra is the lighter outer part of a shadow (outer core).

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Types of Solar Eclipse

  1. Partial solar eclipse
  2. Annular solar eclipse
  3. Total solar eclipse
  4. Hybrid solar eclipse
  • Partial solar eclipse: During this, the moon blocks the sun, but only partially. As a result, some part of the sun is visible, whereas the blocked part appears dark. A partial solar eclipse is the most common type of solar eclipse. 
  • Annular solar eclipse: In this case,the moon blocks out the sun in such a way that the border of the sun remains visible and Moon completely covers the Sun. This is the second most common type of eclipse. 
  • Total solar eclipse: As the word “total” suggests, when the moon totally blocks out the sun for a few minutes, leading to a period of darkness, the resulting eclipse is called a total solar eclipse. During this period of darkness, one can witness the solar corona, which is usually too dim to notice when the sun is at its full glory. Totality may last as long as 7 minutes 31 seconds, though most total eclipses are usually much shorter. 
  • Hybrid solar eclipse:The rarest of all eclipses is a hybrid eclipse, which shifts between a total and annular eclipse. During a hybrid eclipse, some locations on Earth will witness the moon completely blocking the sun (a total eclipse), whereas, other regions will observe an annular eclipse. 

The following diagram shows the various solar eclipses in a frame to easily distinguish among the types of solar eclipses:

Exposing your eyes to the sun without proper eye protection during a solar eclipse can cause ‘eclipse blindness’ or retinal blindness. Avoid looking directly at it, except for the brief period when the sun is in total eclipse.

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Check Point

A. Fill in the blanks: 

  1. The …………… is the dark centre portion of a shadow.
  2. The rarest of the eclipse is ……………
  3. The …………… solar eclipse blocks out the entire Sun for a few minutes.
  4. The lighter outer part of a shadow is called as ……………
  5. The second most common type of the solar eclipse is ……………

 B. State True or False:

  1. Annual solar eclipse occurs when the moon blocks out the sun in such a way that the border of the sun remains visible and Moon completely covers the Sun.
  2. In case of total solar eclipse totality may last as long as 7 minutes 31 seconds.
  3. Solar eclipse occurs when the Earth comes between the Sun and the Full Moon.
  4. There are total 3 types of solar eclipses.
  5. In case of partial solar eclipse some part of the sun is visible, whereas the blocked part appears dark.
Answer Key

A. Fill in the blanks:

  1. Umbra
  2. Hybrid solar Eclipse
  3. Total solar Eclipse
  4. Penumbra
  5. Annual solar Eclipse

B. State True or False:

  1. True
  2. True
  3. False
  4. False
  5. True

Sample Questions

Q1. Which of the following statement defines the Solar Eclipse?

  • Solar eclipse occurs when the sun passes between the Earth and the Moon
  • Solar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes between the Moon and the Sun
  • Solar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes through the shadow of the Moon
  • None of the above

 

Q2. We would see Eclipse each month if moon was slightly closer to our Earth in a circular orbit and can orbit in the same plane.

  • True
  • False

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