On Earth there are two types;
Total Solar Eclipse and Total Lunar Eclipse.
Total Solar Eclipse
- a solar eclipse is when the Moon comes from between the Sun and the Earth,
casting a shadow up to 45 miles wide onto the Earth’s surface.
- in a total eclipse of the Sun, the Moon passes directly in front of the Sun, completely covering it so that only its corona can be seen.
- there are at least two solar eclipses every year, but they are only visible from a narrow strip of the world.
- totality is when the Moon blocks out the face of the Sun completely; it only lasts for a few minutes!
- solar eclipses are possible because the Moon is 400 times smaller than the Sun, and the Moon appears to be the same size in the sky..
Total Lunar Eclipse
- a lunar eclipse is when the Moon travels behind the Earth, and into the Earth’s shadow. (Earth is between the Moon and The Sun.)
- lunar eclipses happen about once or twice a year and last only a few hours.
- in a total lunar eclipse, the Moon turns rust-red. (photo)
- lunar eclipse can be seen from anywhere on the half the Earth facing the Moon.
- first shadow is called the umbra, and this gets smaller as it reaches Earth. (diagram)
- second shadow is known as the penumbra, and this gets larger as it reaches Earth. (diagram)
Three types of solar eclipses
– a total solar eclipse is only visible from a certain region on Earth and those who can see it are in the centre of the moon’s shadow when it hits Earth.
– for a total eclipse to take place, the sun, moon & Earth must be in a direct line.
– people standing in the umbra will see a total eclipse.
– an annular eclipse happens when the moon is farthest from Earth.
– because the moon is further from Earth, it appears smaller.
– as a result, it doesn’t block the entire view of the sun. The moon in front of the sun resembles a dark disk on top of a larger sun-coloured disk and creates what looks like a ring around the moon.
- Partial Solar Eclipse
– this occurs when the sun, moon and Earth don’t line up exactly.
– people standing in the penumbra will see a partial eclipse.
- More infographic
– on the different Types of Solar Eclipse, what they are and why they happen;
Back to The Solar System page.