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About Eclipses

What are Eclipses

An eclipse is when three objects are aligned in such a way that the object in the middle blocks the light emitted from one of the other objects from reaching the other object. In the case of Earth, there are two main types of eclipses: solar eclipses and lunar eclipses. A solar eclipse is when our moon's orbit places it in a position where it blocks light from the sun from reaching Earth. A lunar eclipse is when the moon's orbit places it behind Earth. This causes some of the light that travels through our atmosphere to turn red due to refraction. This light bounces off the moon's surface and makes it appear red to viewers on Earth.

Types of Solar Eclipses

Solar Eclipses are the main events on Earth and they come in three flavors: total solar eclipses, partial solar eclipses, and annular. A total solar eclipse is when the moon is perfectly aligned to the point that it blocks a large percentage of the sun's light from reaching Earth. On Earth, this looks like the entire sun is covered other than a very small ring made up of the sun's outer edge or (corona). An interesting result from this is that for a few minutes you can actually see the sun without damaging your eyes. A partial solar eclipse is when the moon's position is not quite right to cover up the sun perfectly but it still blocks out some of the light. From Earth, if you have proper eye protection or use the right observational tools, you can see the moon covering parts of the sun. However, note that it does not block enough to make the viewing safe without proper protection. Finally, an annular solar eclipse is when the moon covers up the center of the sun like with a solar eclipse, however, it is too close to Earth so more of the sun shows up than just a larger portion of the sun. Again, this is too bright to see without protection.