What is an eclipse?
An eclipse occurs when one object in space
blocks an observer from seeing another object
in space. From Earth there are two main types of
eclipses: solar eclipses and lunar eclipses.
A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes in
front of the Sun causing a shadow to fall on
certain portions of the Earth. The eclipse is not
seen from every place on Earth, but only from
the locations where the shadow falls. From
these locations, it appears as if the Sun has gone
There are three main parts of the Moon's shadow during an eclipse called the
umbra, penumbra, and antumbra.
1. Umbra :The umbra is the portion of the Moon's shadow where the Moon
completely covers the sun.
2. Antumbra: The area of the shadow beyond the point of the umbra. Here the
Moon is completely in front of the Sun, but doesn't cover the entire Sun.
3. Penumbra: The area of the shadow where only a portion of the Moon is in front
of the Sun.
Depending on what part of the shadow you are located in, there are three types of
1. Total: A total eclipse is where the Sun is covered completely by the Moon.
2. Annular: An annular eclipse is when the Moon covers the Sun, but the Sun can be
seen around the edges of the Moon.
3. Partial: A partial eclipse is when only a portion of the Sun is blocked by the Moon.
Types of Eclipse
Never look directly at a solar eclipse. Even
though it appears darker, the harmful rays
of the Sun can still damage your eyes.
Don't Look at A
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through
the Earth's shadow. Lunar eclipses have the same three
phases or types as solar eclipses including the umbra
(total), antumbra (annular), and penumbra (partial).
Lunar eclipses can be seen by a much larger area of the
Earth than solar eclipses. They also can be viewed
without special equipment to protect the eyes. Lunar
eclipses are not totally dark.
Interesting Facts about Eclipses
* The longest that a solar eclipse will last is seven and a half
* The most solar eclipses of any type that can occur on Earth
within a year is five.
* A total solar eclipse occurs about every 1.5 years.
* Animals sometimes become confused and behave strangely
during a total eclipse of the Sun.