Solar Eclipses - Moore Public Schools

Solar Eclipses What exactly is a solar eclipse? What is an eclipse? What causes eclipses and why? How often do eclipses happen?

Phases of the Moon The Moon is a celestial body/natural satellite that orbits Earth The Moon does not produce its own light but reflects the Suns light

The Moon orbits Earth about every 29.5 days As it circles the Earth, the changing position of the Moon with respect to the Sun causes the moon to appear in different phases The Moons Two Shadows

A solar eclipse can only occur during New Moon phase If the Moons shadow happens to fall upon Earths surface during this time, there could be a portion of the Sun covered by the moon Even though a New Moon phase occurs every 29.5 days,

we dont have a monthly solar eclipse because the Moons orbit is tilted 5 degrees At least twice a year, the geometry lines up just right for an eclipse for part of Earth The Moons Two Shadows

The Moon has two different parts to its shadow 1) Penumbra faint outer shadow; partial solar eclipses visible 2) Umbra dark inner shadow; total solar eclipses visible When the penumbral shadow strikes Earth, we see a partial eclipse

Total Solar Eclipses If the Moons inner (umbral) shadow sweeps across Earth, a total eclipse can be seen The path the inner shadow moves across Earth is called the Path of Totality

The path is only about 100 miles wide To see a total eclipse, one must be inside the path Its very rare to see a total solar eclipse twice in one place Ex: Princeton, NJ had a total solar eclipse in 1478. Next one will be

2079! Totality The total phase of a solar eclipse is very brief, usually only a

few minutes During totality, the corona can be seen (ring around the Sun)

Annular Solar Eclipses Not every solar eclipse is a total eclipse Because of the elliptical (oval) shape of the Moons orbit, the Moon is sometimes too far away to completely cover the Sun in the sky When this happens, the Moon appears smaller and leaves a larger

ring around the edge. This type of eclipse is called an Annular Solar Eclipse Annularity can last as long as a dozen minutes Works Cited

"Espenak, Fred. Solar Eclipses for Beginners., Accessed 10 August 2017.

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