solar eclipse



We explain what a solar eclipse is and why this phenomenon occurs. Also, types of solar eclipse and precautions to see one.

On average, an eclipse of the Sun occurs every 18 months and lasts only a few minutes.

What is a solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse is a phenomenon in which the Moon stands between theSun and the Earth, and you can fully, partially or completely hide it depending on the size, location and distance between the stars.

On average, an eclipse of the Sun occurs every 18 months and lasts only a few minutes. The same total solar eclipse takes 400 years to repeat itself in the same place on the planet. This occurs because, like the movement of the Earth around the Sun, the Moon also moves on its elliptical orbit but around our planet.

By drawing an imaginary line that describes the movement of translation of the celestial bodies, it is seen that the trajectory of the orbit is oval. Therefore, depending on the section of the route, the Moon is closer or further away from the Earth and these two in turn, more or less close to the Sun. This is the reason why they do not always line up in the same way or at the same time of year.

Why does a solar eclipse occur?

The closer the Moon is to the Earth, the more intense and smaller its shadow is.

The translational movements of the Earth and its natural satellite (the Moon), imply variations in the intensity of the shadow that the Moon casts on the planet at the time of the solar eclipse. The closer the Moon is to Earth, the more intense and smaller the diameter is its shadow. Thus the concealment of the Sun occurs, that is, a total eclipse is perceptible only from the area where the shadow is projected. From other nearby regions, where it only reaches the twilight of the Moon, the same phenomenon is perceived as a partial eclipse of the Sun.

To check this phenomenon in a simple way, you can hold a ball between a lamp and a wall. By bringing the ball closer to the lamp, the shadow it casts on the wall is larger and softer. As you bring the ball closer to the wall, the shadow has a smaller diameter and is more intense.
If the ball were the Moon, the wall the planet and the lamp the Sun, moving the ball can simulate the different instances of eclipses of the Sun.

Types of solar eclipse

  • Total eclipse. It can be seen only from a certain area of ​​the planet, in the center of the shadow that the Moon casts on the Earth. From there, the total concealment of the luminous star can be observed.
  • Partial eclipse. There is a partial occultation of the Sun and it is seen from the twilight zone of the Earth, generated by the shadow of the Moon. You can see the luminous star partially hidden and, at the same time, appreciate part of its luminosity in the shape of a half moon.
  • Annular eclipse. Unlike the partial eclipse, due to the distance between the Moon and the Earth, the satellite does not create a shadow that completely hides the Sun, but allows a ring of light to be seen around it.

Precautions for observing a solar eclipse

There are glasses designed to view a solar eclipse.

An eclipse of the Sun should never be observed directly. While it is anatural phenomenon, it is important to take precautions since the observation direct and by weather prolonged sunlight, on a normal day or during an eclipse, can cause retinal burns and even permanent blindness. The radiation that it emanates is very strong, capable of damaging sight in a very short time, especially in the smallest.

There are glasses designed to see an eclipse, whose lenses are similar to those of welding masks. Despite viewing through special glasses, viewing for more than 30 seconds at a time is not recommended.The sunglasses that we wear daily do not protect in these cases.

lunar eclipse

A lunar eclipse can last from 30 minutes to an hour.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth is interposed between the Sun and the Moon, leaving the latter in total or partial darkness, without receiving the light of the luminous star.

The lunar eclipse can be seen in all terrestrial regions from where the satellite is visible, while the total solar eclipse can only be seen from the area of ​​the Earth where the Moon casts its shadow. It can last from 30 minutes to an hour, unlike the solar eclipse that lasts just a few minutes.

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