Important facts about total solar eclipse

Some amazing yet important facts about total solar eclipse

An amazing total solar eclipse was seen on 21st of August 2017. It means that the moon is going to come between earth and the sun and thus it is going to block the sun. The rays of the sun will not be able to reach sun and moon will cast a shadow on earth which will be giant and gigantic. The total eclipse could only be seen in the United States but in Canada, people will be able to see the partial eclipse. More you will be towards the Southern part of Canada, more clearly the total eclipse will be visible to you.

Important facts about total solar eclipse

Credit: National Geographic

Introduction to the solar eclipse:

What is actually a solar eclipse? It is a time period when the moon comes in front of the sun and a shadow of the moon is cast over the earth. This phenomenon is also called as an occultation. The major reason why solar eclipse occurs is that the total distance between earth and the sun is approximately 400 times the distance of the moon from the sun. Also, the diameter of the sun is 400 times that of the moon. So the direct meaning is that the size of sun and moon is almost similar when we are going to view it from the earth and hence when the moon comes in front of both, it stops the rays of sun to reach the earth.

Types of solar eclipses:

Mainly, there are three types of solar eclipses which are as follows:

Partial solar eclipse: In this case, the moon does not completely come in front of the sun and hence partial sun rays can reach the earth and the partial sunlight is blocked.

Annual solar eclipse:This eclipse occurs when both sun and moon are in exact line but there may be any one of the conditions can follow and that is either moon will be much further from the earth or the earth is very close to the sun. In this case, the size of the moon appears to be very small in comparison to the sun and hence sun appears out to be a bright ring also called as annulus which surrounds the moon.

Total solar eclipse:This happens when the moon completely covers the sunlight and hence no rays can reach the earth at all and at this time only a faint solar corona is visible.

General facts about the solar eclipses:

Some of the general facts about the solar eclipses are as follows:

There are almost 2 to 5 solar eclipses every year.

Total solar eclipses are very rare and occur only once in every 18 years.

A hybrid eclipse is another type of eclipse which keeps on shifting between the annular eclipse and the total eclipse and is a very rare eclipse.

If we look from either South Pole or the North Pole, only partial eclipse can be seen.

When the moon moves across the sun, its speed is almost 2,250 km per hour.

After every 18 years and 11 days, the identical eclipses occur and it is known as Saros cycle.

Interesting facts about the total solar eclipse

First total solar eclipse

In the continental USA, it is the first total solar eclipse in the last 38 years. If we look at the reports, the last total solar eclipse occurred on 26th of February, 1979. But many people were not able to see this solar eclipse.

Very first contact happened in Oregon

A total of 1 minute and 58.5 seconds of contact occurred firstly at waterfront in government point, Oregon at 10:15 pm. So, people who were present there at that time were the first to see this.

The eclipse totalities are all at different lengths

The total phases of the entire solar eclipse were at different times because the distance between earth and sun is not always same and also the distance between moon and earth also varies continuously. Therefore, the apparent diameter of moon ranges 7 to 10 percent larger and that is smaller from the sun.

These eclipses occur between the Saros cycles

The total solar eclipses occur between the Saros cycles. The two eclipses that are being separated by any saros cycle are both identical and similar. Their occurrence node is same and also the distance between earth and the moon is same. Also, their occurrence time is the same.

Safety with the total solar eclipse:

It is not safe to look at the solar eclipse directly with the naked eyes. It is advised to view the total solar eclipse after wearing the eclipse eyewear. If you do not wear any protective glasses while watching it, it may turn out to be a very dangerous sunburn on the eyes which can be really painful. Also, it can result in a permanent loss of the vision.

So, you can wear the eclipse glasses. These glasses are not like the normal glasses and have lenses which are much stronger and safer than the other normal lenses. These are having a protective covering of aluminum and silver so as to protect the eyes from the harmful and the destructive rays of the sun. You can easily get these glasses online or in any of the local science center. Also, to look at the eclipse you can make a pin-hole eclipse viewer. You can get the instructions to create it with the NASA’s propulsion laboratory.

Every year on average there is a total of 4 eclipses and two of them are mostly the solar eclipse but it does not signify that you can view it every year. One year it is visible in one continent and next time you can see it from some other continent only. But in case you have missed it this time then don’t be sad. The next solar eclipse is going to be visible from North America and it is going to occur in the month of April in the year 2024. So, mark out your calendars and be prepared for it.

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