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Encyclopedia > Solar eclipse
Photo taken during the 1999 eclipse.
Photo taken during the 1999 eclipse.

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partially obscuring Earth's view of the Sun. This configuration can only occur during a New Moon, when the Sun and Moon are in conjunction as seen from the Earth. In ancient times, and in some cultures today, solar eclipses are attributed to mythical properties. Total solar eclipses can be frightening events for people unaware of their astronomical nature, as the Sun suddenly disappears in the middle of the day and the sky darkens in a matter of minutes. However, the spiritual attribution of solar eclipses is now largely disregarded. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (3543x3489, 2027 KB) Summary Description: Solar eclipse 1999 in France view 4 Additional noise reduction performed by Diliff. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (3543x3489, 2027 KB) Summary Description: Solar eclipse 1999 in France view 4 Additional noise reduction performed by Diliff. ... The eclipse as seen from France. ... Bulk composition of the Moons mantle and crust estimated, weight percent Oxygen 42. ... Earth (IPA: , often referred to as the Earth, Terra, or Planet Earth) is the third planet in the solar system in terms of distance from the Sun, and the fifth largest. ... The Sun is the star of our solar system. ... The lunar phase depends on the Moons position in orbit around Earth. ...


Total solar eclipses are very rare events for any given place on Earth because totality is only seen where the Moon's umbra touches the Earth's surface. A total solar eclipse is a spectacular natural phenomenon and many people consider travel to remote locations in order to observe one. The 1999 total eclipse in Europe, said by some to be the most-watched eclipse in human history, helped to increase public awareness of the phenomenon. This was illustrated by the number of people willing to make the trip to witness the 2005 annular eclipse and the 2006 total eclipse. The next solar eclipse takes place on March 19, 2007, while the next total solar eclipse will occur on August 1, 2008. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... A natural phenomenon is a physical or non-artificial event. ... The eclipse as seen from France. ... World map showing Europe Political map (neighbouring countries in Asia and Africa also shown) Europe is one of the seven traditional continents of the Earth. ... Solar eclipse of 2005 October 3 The solar eclipse that took place on October 3, 2005 was an annular eclipse of the Sun with a magnitude of 0. ... Solar eclipse of 2006 March 29 The solar eclipse that took place on March 29, 2006 was a total eclipse of the Sun that was visible from a narrow corridor which traversed half the Earth. ... March 19 is the 78th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (79th in leap years). ... 2007 (MMVII) will be a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Solar eclipse of 2008 August 1 The solar eclipse that takes place on August 1, 2008 will be a total eclipse of the Sun with a magnitude of 1. ...

Contents

Types of solar eclipses

An annular eclipse.
An annular eclipse.

There are four types of solar eclipses: Image File history File links RingfoermigeSonnenfinsternis. ... Image File history File links RingfoermigeSonnenfinsternis. ...

  • A total eclipse occurs when the Sun is completely obscured by the Moon. The intensely bright disk of the Sun is replaced by the dark outline of the Moon, and the much fainter corona is visible (see image above). During any one eclipse, totality is visible only from at most a narrow track on the surface of the Earth.
  • An annular eclipse occurs when the Sun and Moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun. Hence the Sun appears as a very bright ring, or annulus, surrounding the outline of the Moon.
  • A hybrid eclipse is intermediate between a total and annular eclipse. At some points on the surface of the Earth it is visible as a total eclipse, whereas at others it is annular. Hybrid eclipses are rather rare.
  • A partial eclipse occurs when the Sun and Moon are not exactly in line, and the Moon only partially obscures the Sun. This phenomenon can usually be seen from a large part of the Earth outside of the track of an annular or total eclipse. However, some eclipses can only be seen as a partial eclipse, because the umbra never intersects the Earth's surface.

The Earth's distance from the Sun is about 400 times the Moon's distance from the Earth. The Sun's diameter is about 400 times the diameter of the Moon. Because these ratios are approximately the same, the sizes of the Sun and the Moon as seen from Earth appear to be approximately the same: about 0.5 degree of arc in angular measure. The corona is the luminous plasma atmosphere of the Sun extending millions of kilometres into space, most easily seen during a total solar eclipse, but also observable in a coronagraph. ... An annulus In mathematics, an annulus (the Latin word for little ring, with plural annuli) is a ring-shaped geometric figure, or more generally, a term used to name a ring-shaped object. ... Diameter is an AAA (authentication, authorization and accounting) protocol for applications such as network access or IP mobility. ... This article describes degree as a unit of angle. ...


Because the Moon's orbit around the Earth is an ellipse, as is the Earth's orbit around the Sun, the apparent sizes of the Sun and Moon vary.[1][2] The magnitude of an eclipse is the ratio of the apparent size of the Moon to the apparent size of the Sun during an eclipse. An eclipse when the Moon is near its closest distance from the Earth (i.e., near its perigee) can be a total eclipse because the Moon will appear to be large enough to cover completely the Sun's bright disk, or photosphere; a total eclipse has a magnitude greater than 1. Conversely, an eclipse when the Moon is near its farthest distance from the Earth (i.e., near its apogee) can only be an annular eclipse because the Moon will appear to be slightly smaller than the Sun; the magnitude of an annular eclipse is less than 1. Slightly more solar eclipses are annular than total because, on average, the Moon lies too far from Earth to cover the Sun completely. A hybrid eclipse occurs when the magnitude of an eclipse is very close to 1: the eclipse will appear to be total at some locations on Earth and annular at other locations.[3] The ellipse and some of its mathematical properties. ... In a solar eclipse, the magnitude of the eclipse is the ratio between the apparent sizes of the Moon and that of the Sun during the eclipse. ... Perigee is the point at which an object in orbit around the Earth makes its closest approach to the Earth. ... The photosphere of an astronomical object is the region at which the optical depth becomes one for a photon of wavelength equal to 5000 angstroms. ... This article is about several astronomical terms (apogee & perigee, aphelion & perihelion, generic equivalents based on apsis, and related but rarer terms. ...


The Earth's orbit around the Sun is also elliptical, so the Earth's distance from the Sun varies throughout the year. This also affects the apparent sizes of the Sun and Moon, but not so much as the Moon's varying distance from the Earth. When the Earth approaches its farthest distance from the Sun (the aphelion) in July, this tends to favor a total eclipse. As the Earth approaches its closest distance from the Sun (the perihelion) in January, this tends to favor an annular eclipse. This article is about several astronomical terms (apogee & perigee, aphelion & perihelion, generic equivalents based on apsis, and related but rarer terms. ... This article is about several astronomical terms (apogee & perigee, aphelion & perihelion, generic equivalents based on apsis, and related but rarer terms. ...


Terminology

Central eclipse is often used as a generic term for a total, annular or hybrid eclipse. This is, however, not completely correct: the definition of a central eclipse is an eclipse during which the central line of the umbra touches the Earth's surface. It is possible, though extremely rare, that part of the umbra intersects with Earth (thus creating an annular or total eclipse), but not its central line. This is then called a non-central total or annular eclipse.[4]


The term solar eclipse itself is technically a misnomer. The phenomenon of the Moon passing in front of the Sun is not an eclipse, but an occultation. Properly speaking, an eclipse occurs when one object passes into the shadow cast by another object. For example, when the Moon disappears at Full Moon by passing into Earth's shadow, the event is properly called a lunar eclipse. Therefore, the proper, but rarely used, term for what is commonly called a solar eclipse is eclipse of the Earth. In this July, 1997 still frame captured from video, the bright star Aldebaran has just reappeared on the dark limb of the waning crescent moon in this predawn occultation. ... The Galileo spacecraft took this composite image on 7 December 1992 on its way to explore the Jupiter system in 1995-97. ... An eclipse refers to the phenomenon of one body passing into the shadow cast by another body. ...


Eclipse predictions

Geometry of an eclipse

Diagram of solar eclipse (not to scale).
Diagram of solar eclipse (not to scale).

The diagram to the right shows the alignment of the Sun, Moon and Earth during a solar eclipse. The dark gray region below the moon is the umbra, where the Sun is completely obscured by the Moon. The small area where the umbra touches the Earth's surface is where a total eclipse can be seen. The larger light gray area is the penumbra, in which only a partial eclipse can be seen. Image File history File links Solar_eclipse. ... Image File history File links Solar_eclipse. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Umbra. ...


The Moon's orbit around the Earth is inclined at an angle of just over 5 degrees to the plane of the Earth's orbit around the Sun (the ecliptic). Because of this, at the time of a New Moon, the Moon will usually pass above or below the Sun. A solar eclipse can occur only when the New Moon occurs close to one of the points (known as nodes) where the Moon's orbit crosses the ecliptic. The plane of the ecliptic is well seen in this picture from the 1994 lunar prospecting Clementine spacecraft. ... An orbital node is one of the two points where an inclined orbit crosses a plane of reference (e. ...


As noted above, the Moon's orbit is also elliptical. The Moon's distance from the Earth can vary by about 6% from its average value. Therefore, the Moon's apparent size varies with its distance from the Earth, and it is this effect that leads to the difference between total and annular eclipses. The distance of the Earth from the Sun also varies during the year, but this is a smaller effect. On average, the Moon appears to be slightly smaller than the Sun, so the majority (about 60%) of central eclipses are annular. It is only when the Moon is closer to the Earth than average (near its perigee) that a total eclipse occurs.[5][6] The ellipse and some of its mathematical properties. ... Perigee is the point at which an object in orbit around the Earth makes its closest approach to the Earth. ...


The Moon orbits the Earth in approximately 27.3 days, relative to a fixed frame of reference. This is known as the sidereal month. However, during one sidereal month, the Earth has revolved part way around the Sun, making the average time between one New Moon and the next longer than the sidereal month: it is approximately 29.6 days. This is known as the synodic month, and corresponds to what is commonly called the lunar month. In Egyptian mythology, Month is an alternate spelling for Menthu. ... In Egyptian mythology, Month is an alternate spelling for Menthu. ... In lunar calendars, a lunar month is the time between two successive similar syzygies (new moons or full moons). ...

A Total eclipse. B Annular eclipse. C Partial eclipse
A Total eclipse. B Annular eclipse. C Partial eclipse

The Moon crosses from south to north of the ecliptic at its ascending node. However, the nodes of the Moon's orbit are gradually moving in a retrograde motion, due to the action of the Sun's gravity on the Moon's motion, and they make a complete circuit every 18.5 years. This means that the time between each passage of the Moon through the ascending node is slightly shorter than the sidereal month. This period is called the draconic month. Image File history File links Eclipses_solares. ... The ascending node is one of the orbital nodes, a point in the orbit of an object where it crosses the plane of the ecliptic from the south celestial hemisphere to the north celestial hemisphere in the direction of motion. ... Prograde motion is the motion of a planetary body in a direction similar to that of other bodies within its system, and is sometimes called direct motion, especially in astrology. ... In Egyptian mythology, Month is an alternate spelling for Menthu. ...


Finally, the Moon's perigee is moving forwards in its orbit, and makes a complete circuit in about 9 years. The time between one perigee and the next is known as the anomalistic month. In Egyptian mythology, Month is an alternate spelling for Menthu. ...


The Moon's orbit intersects with the ecliptic at the two nodes that are 180 degrees apart. Therefore, the New Moon occurs close to the nodes at two periods of the year approximately six months apart, and there will always be at least one solar eclipse during these periods. Sometimes the New Moon occurs close enough to a node during two consecutive months. This means that in any given year, there will always be at least two solar eclipses, and there can be as many as five. However, some are visible only as partial eclipses, because the umbra passes above Earth's north or south pole, and others are central only in remote regions of the Arctic or Antarctic.[7][8] The red line indicates the 10°C isotherm in July, commonly used to define the Arctic region border Satellite image of the Arctic surface The Arctic is the area around the Earths North Pole, opposite the Antarctican area around the South Pole. ... Greek ἀνταρκτικός, opposite the arctic) is a continent surrounding the Earths South Pole. ...


Path of an eclipse

During a central eclipse, the Moon's umbra (or antumbra, in the case of an annular eclipse) moves rapidly from west to east across the Earth. The Earth is also rotating from west to east, but the umbra always moves faster than any given point on the Earth's surface, so it almost always appears to move in a roughly west-east direction across a map of the Earth (there are some rare exceptions to this which can occur during an eclipse of the midnight sun in Arctic or Antarctic regions). The text or formatting below is generated by a template which has been proposed for deletion. ... The midnight sun at Nordkapp, Norway The midnight sun is a phenomenon occurring in latitudes north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Antarctic Circle where the sun is visible at the local midnight. ...


The width of the track of a central eclipse varies according to the relative apparent diameters of the Sun and Moon. In the most favourable circumstances, when a total eclipse occurs very close to perigee, the track can be over 250 km wide and the duration of totality may be over 7 minutes. Outside of the central track, a partial eclipse can usually be seen over a much larger area of the Earth.[9]


Occurrence and eclipse cycles

Total Solar Eclipse Paths: 1001–2000. This image was merged from 50 separate images from NASA.
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Total Solar Eclipse Paths: 1001–2000. This image was merged from 50 separate images from NASA.[10]

Total solar eclipses are rare events. Although they occur somewhere on Earth approximately every 18 months, it has been estimated that they recur at any given place only once every 370 years, on average. Then, after waiting so long, the total eclipse only lasts for a few minutes, as the Moon's umbra moves eastward at over 1700 km/h. Totality can never last more than 7 min 40 s, and is usually much shorter: during each millennium there are typically fewer than 10 total solar eclipses exceeding 7 minutes. The last time this happened was June 30, 1973. Observers aboard a Concorde aircraft were able to stretch totality to about 74 minutes by flying along the path of the Moon's umbra. The next eclipse of comparable duration will not occur until June 25, 2150. The longest total solar eclipse during the 8,000-year period from 3000 BC to 5000 AD will occur on July 16, 2186, when totality will last 7 min 29 s.[11] Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1942x1465, 209 KB) Summary Total Solar Eclipse Paths: 1001-2000 Licensing File links The following pages link to this file: Solar eclipse ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1942x1465, 209 KB) Summary Total Solar Eclipse Paths: 1001-2000 Licensing File links The following pages link to this file: Solar eclipse ... A millennium is a period of time, equal to one thousand years (from Latin mille, thousand, and annum, year). ... June 30 is the 181st day of the year (182nd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 184 days remaining. ... 1973 (MCMLXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday. ... The Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde supersonic transport (SST), along with the Tupolev Tu-144, was one of only two models of supersonic passenger airliners to have seen commercial service. ... June 25 is the 176th day of the year (177th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 189 days remaining. ... The 22nd century (Gregorian calendar) will comprise the years 2101-2200. ... July 16 is the 197th day (198th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 168 days remaining. ... (Redirected from 2186) (21st century - 22nd century - 23rd century - other centuries) The twenty-second century comprises the years 2101 to 2200. ...


If the date and time of any solar eclipse are known, it is possible to predict other eclipses using eclipse cycles. Two such cycles are the Saros and the Inex. The Saros cycle is probably the best known, and one of the most accurate, eclipse cycles. The Inex cycle is itself a poor cycle, but it is very convenient in the classification of eclipse cycles. After a Saros cycle finishes, a new Saros cycle begins one Inex later, hence its name: in-ex. A Saros cycle lasts 6,585.3 days (a little over 18 years), which means that after this period a practically identical eclipse will occur. The most notable difference will be a shift of 120° in longitude (due to the 0.3 days) and a little in latitude. A Saros series always starts with a partial eclipse near one of Earth's polar regions, then shifts over the globe through a series of annular or total eclipses, and ends at the opposite polar region. A Saros lasts 1226 to 1550 years and 69 to 87 eclipses, with about 40 to 60 central. [12] Eclipses may occur repeatedly, separated by some specific interval of time: this interval is called an eclipse cycle. ... A Saros cycle is a period of 6585 + 1/3 days (approximately 18 years 10 days and 8 hours) which can be used to predict eclipses of the sun and the moon. ... Eclipses may occur repeatedly, separated by some specific interval of time: this interval is called an eclipse cycle. ...


Final totality

Due to tidal acceleration, the orbit of the Moon around the Earth is unstable, and becomes approximately 3.8 cm more distant each year. It is estimated that in 600 million years, the distance from the Earth to the Moon will have increased by 23500 km, meaning that it will no longer be able to completely cover the Sun's disk. This will be true even when the Moon is at perigee, and the Earth at aphelion. It has been suggested that Tidal friction be merged into this article or section. ... Perigee is the point at which an object in orbit around the Earth makes its closest approach to the Earth. ... This article is about several astronomical terms (apogee & perigee, aphelion & perihelion, generic equivalents based on apsis, and related but rarer terms. ...


A complicating factor is that the Sun will increase in size over this timescale. This makes it even more unlikely that the Moon will be able to cause a total eclipse. We can therefore say that the last total solar eclipse on Earth will occur in slightly less than 600 million years.[13]


Historical solar eclipses

A solar eclipse of 15 June 763 BC mentioned in an Assyrian text is important for the Chronology of the Ancient Orient. This is the earliest solar eclipse mentioned in historical sources that has been identified beyond reasonable doubt. There have been other claims to date earlier eclipses, notably that of Mursili II (likely 1312 BC), in Babylonia, and also in China, but these are highly disputed and rely on much supposition.[14][15] June 15 is the 166th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (167th in leap years), with 199 days remaining. ... Centuries: 9th century BC - 8th century BC - 7th century BC Decades: 810s BC 800s BC 790s BC 780s BC 770s BC - 760s BC - 750s BC 740s BC 730s BC 720s BC 710s BC Events and Trends June 15 763 BC - A solar eclipse at this date is used to fix... Assyrians are Aramaic-speaking Christians who consider themselves to be indigenous inhabitants of Mesopotamia, and inheritors of the ancient culture of Assyria. ... The Chronology of the Ancient Orient deals with the notoriously difficult task of assigning years of the Common Era to various events, rulers and dynasties of the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC. The chronology of this region is based on five sets of primary materials. ... Mursili II was a king of the Hittite empire (New kingdom) from 1322 BC–1295/92 BC. He was the younger son of Suppiluliuma I and unexpectedly assumed the throne after the premature death of his elder brother Arnuwanda II. He faced numerous rebellions early in his reign most seriously... Babylonia, named for its capital city, Babylon, was an ancient state in the south part of Mesopotamia (in modern Iraq), combining the territories of Sumer and Akkad. ...


Herodotus wrote that Thales of Miletus predicted an eclipse which occurred during a war between the Medians and the Lydians. Soldiers on both sides put down their weapons and declared peace as a result of the eclipse. Exactly which eclipse was involved has remained uncertain, although the issue has been studied by hundreds of ancient and modern authorities. One likely candidate took place on May 28, 585 BC, probably near the Halys river in the middle of modern Turkey.[16] Bust of Herodotus Herodotus of Halicarnassus (Greek: , Herodotos Halikarnasseus) was a Dorian Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC (484 BC - ca. ... Thales of Miletus (ca. ... The Medes(ancient Kurdistan) were an Iranian people, who lived in the north, western, and northwestern portions of present-day Iran, and roughly the areas of present day Tehran, Hamedan, Azarbaijan, north of Esfahan, Zanjan, and Kurdistan. ... Lydia (Greek ) is a historic region of western Anatolia, congruent with Turkeys modern provinces of Ä°zmir and Manisa. ... May 28 is the 148th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (149th in leap years). ... In the Aeneid, Halys is a Trojan who defends Aeneas camp from a Rutullian attack. ...


An annular eclipse of the Sun occurred at Sardis on February 17, 478 BC, while Xerxes was departing for his expedition against Greece, as Herodotus recorded.[17] Hind and Chambers considered this absolute date more than a century ago.[18] Herodotus also reports that another solar eclipse was observed in Sparta during the next year, on August 1, 477 BC.[19][20][21] The sky suddenly darkened in the middle of the day, well after the battles of Thermopylae and Salamis, after the departure of Mardonius to Thessaly at the beginning of the spring of (477 BC) and his second attack on Athens, after the return of Cleombrotus to Sparta. Note that the modern conventional dates are different by a year or two, and that these two eclipse records have been ignored so far.[22] Sardis, (also Sardes) the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia, the seat of a conventus under the Roman Empire, and the metropolis of the province Lydia in later Roman and Byzantine times, was situated in the middle Hermus valley, at the foot of Mt. ... February 17 is the 48th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Centuries: 6th century BC - 5th century BC - 4th century BC Decades: 520s BC 510s BC 500s BC 490s BC 480s BC - 470s BC - 460s BC 450s BC 440s BC 430s BC 420s BC Years: 483 BC 482 BC 481 BC 480 BC 479 BC - 478 BC - 477 BC 476 BC... Xerxes I (خشایارشاه), was a Persian king (reigned 485 - 465 BC) of the Achaemenid dynasty. ... Sparta (Doric: , Attic: ) is a city in southern Greece. ... August 1 is the 213th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (214th in leap years), with 152 days remaining. ... Combatants Greek-city states Persia Commanders Leonidas I of Sparta † Xerxes I of Persia Strength 300 Spartans, 4900 other Greek soldiers 200,000-1,700,0001 Casualties 300 Spartans 20,000 - 80,000 (no more than 10%) 1Herodotus claims that the Persian strength was 5,283,220 men (Herodotus VII... Combatants Greek city-states Persia Halicarnassus Commanders Eurybiades of Sparta Themistocles of Athens Adeimantus of Corinth Aristides of Athens Xerxes I of Persia Ariamenes † Artemisia Strength 366-380 ships 1 1000 - 1207 ships [1]2 Casualties 40 ships 200-500 ships 1 Herodotus gives 378 of the alliance, but the... Mardonius was a Persian commander during the Persian Wars with Greece in the 5th century BC. He was the son of Gobryas and the son-in-law of Darius I of Persia, whose daughter Artozostra he had married. ... Map showing Thessaly periphery in Greece Thessaly (Θεσσαλια; modern Greek Thessalía; see also List of traditional Greek place names) is one of the 13 peripheries of Greece, and is further sub-divided into 4 prefectures. ... Athens (Greek: Αθήνα, Athína IPA: ) is the capital and largest city of Greece and the birthplace of democracy. ... Cleombrotus (4?? BC-371 BC) was a Spartan King who ruled from 380 BC to 371 BC. Little is known of Cleombrtuss early life however he became king of Sparta after the death of his brother Aegisipolis II in 380 BC. Commanding the Spartan-Peloponesian army against the Thebans... Sparta (Doric: , Attic: ) is a city in southern Greece. ...


It has also been attempted to establish the exact date of Good Friday by means of solar eclipses, but this research has not yielded conclusive results.[23] Good Friday is a holy day celebrated by most Christians on the Friday before Easter or Pascha. ...


Observing a solar eclipse

Image File history File links Download high resolution version (993x993, 26 KB) Description: Solar eclipse 1999 in France view 1 Author: Lviatour oder phase photography http://fr. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (994x992, 64 KB) Description: Solar eclipse 1999 in France view 2 Author: Lviatour oder phase photography http://fr. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (992x992, 46 KB) Description: Solar eclipse 1999 in France view 3 Author: Lviatour File links The following pages link to this file: Solar eclipse Image:Film eclipse soleil 1999. ... Download high resolution version (945x949, 58 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Download high resolution version (945x940, 371 KB) oder phase photography: http://fr. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (684x624, 43 KB) Description: Solar eclipse 1999 in France view 6 Author: Lviatour oder phase photography http://fr. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (992x992, 97 KB) Description: Solar eclipse 1999 in France view 7 Author: Lviatour oder phase photography http://fr. ... Image File history File links Eclipse_movie. ...

Photo taken in Valladolid (Spain) during the October 2005 annular eclipse.
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Photo taken in Valladolid (Spain) during the October 2005 annular eclipse.

Looking directly at the photosphere of the Sun (the bright disk of the Sun itself), even for just a few seconds, can cause permanent damage to the retina of the eye, because of the intense visible and invisible radiation that the photosphere emits. This damage can result in permanent impairment of vision, up to and including blindness. The retina has no sensitivity to pain, and the effects of retinal damage may not appear for hours, so there is no warning that injury is occurring.[24] ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (1152x864, 223 KB) Sumary Photo taken by Mario Ramírez Ferrero during the October 3, 2005 annular eclipse in Valladolid (Spain). ... ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (1152x864, 223 KB) Sumary Photo taken by Mario Ramírez Ferrero during the October 3, 2005 annular eclipse in Valladolid (Spain). ... Plaza Mayor and city hall, Valladolid Valladolid is an industrial city and its municipality in central Spain, upon the Rio Pisuerga and within the Ribera del Duero region. ... Solar eclipse of 2005 October 3 The solar eclipse that took place on October 3, 2005 was an annular eclipse of the Sun with a magnitude of 0. ... The photosphere of an astronomical object is the region at which the optical depth becomes one for a photon of wavelength equal to 5000 angstroms. ... Human eye cross-sectional view. ... Blindness is the condition of lacking visual perception due to physiological or psychological factors. ...


Under normal conditions, the Sun is so bright that it is difficult to stare at it directly, so there is no tendency to look at it in a way that might damage the eye. However, during an eclipse, with so much of the Sun covered, it is easier and more tempting to stare at it. Unfortunately, looking at the Sun during an eclipse is just as dangerous as looking at it outside an eclipse, except during the brief period of totality, when the Sun's disk is completely covered (totality occurs only during a total eclipse and only very briefly; it does not occur during a partial or annular eclipse). Viewing the Sun's disk through any kind of optical aid (binoculars, a telescope, or even an optical camera viewfinder) is even more hazardous.[25]


Glancing at the Sun with all or most of its disk visible is unlikely to result in permanent harm, as the pupil will close down and reduce the brightness of the whole scene. If the eclipse is near total, the low average amount of light causes the pupil to open. Unfortunately the remaining parts of the Sun are still just as bright, so they are now brighter on the retina than when looking at a full Sun. As the eye has a small fovea, for detailed viewing, the tendency will be to track the image on to this best part of the retina, causing damage. The fovea, a part of the eye, is a spot located in the center of the macula. ...


Viewing partial and annular eclipses

Eclipse glasses.
Eclipse glasses.


Viewing the Sun during partial and annular eclipses (and during total eclipses outside the brief period of totality) requires special eye protection, or indirect viewing methods. The Sun's disk can be viewed using appropriate filtration to block the harmful part of the Sun's radiation. Sunglasses are not safe, since they do not block the harmful and invisible infrared radiation which causes retinal damage. Only properly designed and certified solar filters should ever be used for direct viewing of the Sun's disk.[26] Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2560x1920, 1894 KB) Summary sun eclipse glasses Licensing File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Solar eclipse Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2560x1920, 1894 KB) Summary sun eclipse glasses Licensing File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Solar eclipse Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital... Image of a small dog taken in mid-infrared (thermal) light (false color) Infrared (IR) radiation is electromagnetic radiation of a wavelength longer than that of visible light, but shorter than that of radio waves. ...


The safest way to view the Sun's disk is by indirect projection. This can be done by projecting an image of the disk onto a white piece of paper or card using a pair of binoculars (with one of the lenses covered), a telescope, or another piece of cardboard with a small hole in it (about 1 mm diameter), often called a pinhole camera. The projected image of the Sun can then be safely viewed; this technique can be used to observe sunspots, as well as eclipses. However, care must be taken to ensure that no one looks through the projector (telescope, pinhole, etc.) directly. Viewing the Sun's disk on a video display screen (provided by a video camera or digital camera) is safe, although the camera itself may be damaged by direct exposure to the Sun. The optical viewfinders provided with some video and digital cameras are not safe. Principle of a pinhole camera. ... A sunspot is a region on the Suns surface (photosphere) that is marked by a lower temperature than its surroundings and intense magnetic activity, which inhibits convection, forming areas of low surface temperature. ... A video camera can be classified two ways: Professional video cameras, such as those used in television production Camcorders used by amateurs This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... A SiPix digital camera next to a matchbox to show scale. ...


Viewing totality during total eclipses

Contrary to popular belief, it is safe to observe the total phase of a solar eclipse directly with the unaided eye, binoculars or a telescope, when the Sun's photosphere is completely covered by the Moon; indeed, this is a very spectacular and beautiful sight, and it is too dim to be seen through filters. The Sun's faint corona will be visible, and even the chromosphere, solar prominences, and possibly even a solar flare may be seen. However, it is important to stop directly viewing the Sun promptly at the end of totality. The exact time and duration of totality for the location from which the eclipse is being observed should be determined from a reliable source. The corona is the luminous plasma atmosphere of the Sun extending millions of kilometres into space, most easily seen during a total solar eclipse, but also observable in a coronagraph. ... The chromosphere (literally, color sphere) is a thin layer of the Suns atmosphere just above the photosphere, roughly 10,000 kilometers deep. ... EIT 30. ... A Solar Flare, courtesy NASA A solar flare is a violent explosion in the Suns atmosphere with an energy equivalent to tens of millions of hydrogen bombs. ...

Baily's beads.
Baily's beads.

Also very beautiful are the effects just before (and just after) totality. When the shrinking visible part of the photosphere becomes very small, Baily's beads will occur (see picture). These are caused by the sunlight still being able to reach Earth through lunar valleys, but no longer where mountains are present. Totality then begins with the diamond ring effect, the last bright flash of sunlight.[27] Note that it is not entirely safe to view Baily beads or the diamond ring without proper eye protection (because in both cases the photosphere is still visible). Image File history File links TheSun_beads. ... Image File history File links TheSun_beads. ...


Other observations

For astronomers, a total solar eclipse forms a rare opportunity to observe the corona (the outer layer of the Sun's atmosphere). Normally this is not visible because the photosphere is much brighter than the corona. According to the point reached in the solar cycle, the corona can appear rather small and symmetric, or large and fuzzy. It is very hard to predict this prior to totality.[28] An astronomer or astrophysicist is a scientist whose area of research is astronomy or astrophysics. ... The corona is the luminous plasma atmosphere of the Sun extending millions of kilometres into space, most easily seen during a total solar eclipse, but also observable in a coronagraph. ... The photosphere of an astronomical object is the region at which the optical depth becomes one for a photon of wavelength equal to 5000 angstroms. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Schwabe-Wolf cycle. ...


During a solar eclipse, special (indirect) observations can also be done with the unaided eye only. Normally the spots of light which fall through the small openings between the leaves of a tree, have a circular shape. These are images of the Sun. During a partial eclipse, the light spots will show the partial shape of the Sun, as seen on the picture. Another famous phenomenon is shadow bands (also known as flying shadows), which are similar to shadows on the bottom of a swimming pool. They only occur just prior to and after totality, and are very difficult to observe. Many professional eclipse chasers have never seen them.[29]


During a partial eclipse, a related effect that can be seen is anisotropy in the shadows of objects. Particularly if the partial eclipse is nearly total, the unobscured part of the sun acts as an approximate line source of light. This means that objects cast shadows which have a very narrow penumbra in one direction, but a broad penumbra in the perpendicular direction.


1919 observation campaign

The original photograph of the 1919 eclipse which was claimed to confirm Einstein's theory of general relativity.
The original photograph of the 1919 eclipse which was claimed to confirm Einstein's theory of general relativity.

In 1919, the observation of a total solar eclipse helped to confirm Einstein's theory of general relativity. By comparing the apparent distance between two stars, with and without the Sun between them, the theoretical predictions about gravitational lenses were confirmed (though the data were ambiguous at the time). Of course the observation with the Sun between was only possible during totality, since the stars are visible then.[30] Image File history File links Download high resolution version (700x899, 314 KB) Negative of the 1919 solar eclipse taken from the report of Sir Arthur Eddington on the expedition to verify Einsteins prediction of the bending of light around the sun. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (700x899, 314 KB) Negative of the 1919 solar eclipse taken from the report of Sir Arthur Eddington on the expedition to verify Einsteins prediction of the bending of light around the sun. ... Einstein redirects here. ... General relativity (GR) is the geometrical theory of gravitation published by Albert Einstein in 1915. ... Einstein redirects here. ... General relativity (GR) is the geometrical theory of gravitation published by Albert Einstein in 1915. ... The New York Times reported on Einsteins confirmed prediction. ... This article is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ...


Solar eclipse before sunrise or after sunset

The phenomenon of atmospheric refraction makes it possible to observe the Sun (and hence a solar eclipse) even when it is slightly below the horizon. It is however possible for a solar eclipse to attain totality (or in the event of a partial eclipse, near totality) before (visual and actual) sunrise or after sunset from a particular location. When this occurs shortly before the former or after the latter, the sky will appear much darker than it would otherwise be immediately before sunrise or after sunset. On these occasions, an object (especially a planet, often Mercury) may be visible near the sunrise or sunset point of the horizon when it could not have been seen without the eclipse.[31] Atmospheric refraction is the deviation of light or other electromagnetic wave from a straight line as it passes through the atmosphere due to the variation in air density as a function of altitude. ... The eight planets and three dwarf planets of the Solar System. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ...


Simultaneous occurrence of eclipses and transits

In principle, the simultaneous occurrence of a Solar eclipse and a transit of a planet is possible. But these events are extremely rare because of their short durations. The next anticipated simultaneous occurrence of a Solar eclipse and a transit of Mercury will be on July 5, 6757, and a Solar eclipse and a transit of Venus is expected on April 5, 15232.[32] A transit of Mercury across the Sun takes place when the planet Mercury comes between the Sun and the Earth, and Mercury is seen as a small black dot moving across the face of the Sun. ... July 5 is the 186th day of the year (187th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 179 days remaining. ... 6757 is a Common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The 2004 transit of Venus A transit of Venus across the Sun takes place when the planet Venus passes directly between the Sun and the Earth, obscuring a small portion of the Suns disc. ... April 5 is the 95th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (96th in leap years). ... // Science fiction Spoiler warning: 31st millennium: In the Games Workshop universe, the events of the Horus Heresy take place. ...


Only 5 hours after the transit of Venus on June 4, 1769 there was a total solar eclipse, which was visible in Northern America, Europe and Northern Asia as partial solar eclipse. This was the lowest time difference between a transit of a planet and a solar eclipse in the historical past. June 4 is the 155th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (156th in leap years), with 210 days remaining. ... 1769 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...


More common, but still quite rare, is a conjunction of any planet (not confined exclusively to Mercury or Venus) at the time of a total solar eclipse, in which event the planet will be visible very near the eclipsed Sun, when without the eclipse it would have been lost in the Sun's glare. At one time, some scientists hypothesized that there may be a planet (often given the name Vulcan) even closer to the Sun than Mercury; the only way to confirm its existence would have been to observe it during a total solar eclipse. However, it is now known that no such planet exists. While there does remain some possibility for small Vulcanoid asteroids to exist, none have ever been found. Vulcan was the name given to a small planet proposed to exist in an orbit between Mercury and the Sun, in a 19th century hypothesis which has now been superseded by Albert Einsteins theory of general relativity. ... Vulcanoids are hypothetical asteroids that may orbit in a dynamically stable zone between 0. ...


Solar eclipses by and from artificial satellites

The shadow of the moon as seen from the ISS in 2006.
Enlarge
The shadow of the moon as seen from the ISS in 2006.

Artificial satellites can also get in the line between the Earth and the Sun, but none are large enough to cause an eclipse. At the altitude of the International Space Station, for example, an object would need to be about 3.35 km across to blot the Sun out entirely. This means the best you can get is a satellite transit, but these events are difficult to watch, because the zone of visibility is very small. The satellite passes over the face of the Sun in about a second, typically. As with a transit of a planet, it will not get dark.[33] Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1000x662, 161 KB) Summary Licensing File links The following pages link to this file: Solar eclipse of 2006 March 29 ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1000x662, 161 KB) Summary Licensing File links The following pages link to this file: Solar eclipse of 2006 March 29 ... This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ... International Space Station insignia ISS Statistics Crew: 3 As of July 21, 2006 Perigee: 352. ...


Artificial satellites do play an important role in documenting solar eclipses. Images of the umbra on the Earth's surface taken from Mir and the International Space Station are among the most spectacular eclipse images in history.[34] Observations of eclipses from satellites orbiting above the Earth's atmosphere are of course not subject to weather conditions. Mir (Мир, which can mean both world and peace in Russian) was a highly successful Soviet (and later Russian) orbital station. ... International Space Station insignia ISS Statistics Crew: 3 As of July 21, 2006 Perigee: 352. ...


The direct observation of a total solar eclipse from space is rather rare. The only documented case is Gemini 12 in 1966. The partial phase of the 2006 total eclipse was visible from the International Space Station. At first, it looked as though an orbit correction in the middle of March would bring the ISS in the path of totality, but this correction was postponed.[35] Gemini 12 (officially Gemini XII) was a 1966 manned spaceflight in NASAs Gemini program. ... Solar eclipse of 2006 March 29 The solar eclipse that took place on March 29, 2006 was a total eclipse of the Sun that was visible from a narrow corridor which traversed half the Earth. ... International Space Station insignia ISS Statistics Crew: 3 As of July 21, 2006 Perigee: 352. ...


Uses of Solar Eclipses in Media

Apocalypto is a 2006 film directed by Mel Gibson that takes place 600 years ago in the territory of modern-day Central America during the decline of the Maya civilization and before the Spanish colonization of the Americas. ... Heroes is an American drama television series created by Tim Kring. ... Children of Men is a 2006 dystopian thriller film directed by Alfonso Cuarón. ... Pharaoh (Polish: Faraon) is the fourth and last of the major novels by Bolesław Prus. ... A historical novel is a novel in which the story is set among historical events, or more generally, in which the time of the action predates the lifetime of the author. ... BolesÅ‚aw Prus BolesÅ‚aw Prus (pronounced: [bÉ”lεswaf prus]; August 20, 1847 – May 19, 1912), born Aleksander GÅ‚owacki, was a Polish journalist, short-story writer, and novelist. ... Christopher Columbus portrait, painted by Alejo Fernándõ between 1505 and 1536. ... An eclipse refers to the phenomenon of one body passing into the shadow cast by another body. ...

See also

Commons logo
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Solar eclipse

Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... Wikimedia Commons logo by Reid Beels The Wikimedia Commons (also called Commons or Wikicommons) is a repository of free content images, sound and other multimedia files. ...

Eclipses elsewhere in the solar system

... The Sun disappears behind Charons surface during the total solar eclipse on Pluto of 23rd December 2111 Eclipses of the Sun on Pluto are caused when its natural satellite, Charon passes infront of the Sun, blocking its light. ... Phobos transits the Sun, as seen by Mars Rover Opportunity on March 10, 2004 A transit of Phobos across the Sun as seen from Mars takes place when Phobos passes directly between the Sun and a point on the surface of Mars, obscuring a large part of the Suns... Deimos transits the Sun, as seen by Mars Rover Opportunity on March 4, 2004 A transit of Deimos across the Sun as seen from Mars takes place when Deimos passes directly between the Sun and a point on the surface of Mars, obscuring a small part of the Suns...

Eclipse lists

Selected solar eclipses, past and future. ... // List of the previous and the next total and annular solar eclipses List of total and annular solar eclipses occurs between 1001 and 3000 Beijing (39° 54. ... This is a List of Solar Eclipses Visible from the United Kingdom from 1000 AD - 2090 AD. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partially obscuring Earths view of the Sun. ...

Miscellaneous

Allaiss paraconical pendulum Photo taken during the French 1999 eclipse The Allais effect is a claimed anomalous precession of the plane of oscillation of a pendulum during a solar eclipse. ... This is a list of fictional stories in which solar eclipses feature as an important plot element. ...

References

  1. ^ Solar Eclipses. University of Tennessee.
  2. ^ P. Tiedt. Types of Solar Eclipse.
  3. ^ O. Staiger. Solar Eclipses for Beginners.
  4. ^ F. Espenak. Central Solar Eclipses.
  5. ^ R. Hipschman. Why Eclipses Happen. The Exploratorium.
  6. ^ What Causes an Eclipse?. Earth View.
  7. ^ F. Espenak (1987). Fifty Year Canon of Solar Eclipses: 1986–2035. Greenbelt, MD: NASA RP-1178.
  8. ^ J. Meeus, C. Grosjean, W. and Vanderleen (1966). Canon of Solar Eclipses. New York: Pergamon Press.
  9. ^ Eclipse. MSN Encarta.
  10. ^ F. Espenak. World Atlas of Solar Eclipse Paths.
  11. ^ F.R. Stephenson (1997). Historical Eclipses and Earth's Rotation. Cambridge University Press, 54.
  12. ^ F. Espenak. Eclipses and the Saros.
  13. ^ A. Kendall. The Final Total Eclipse.
  14. ^ F. Espenak. Solar Eclipses of Historical Interest.
  15. ^ F.R. Stephenson (1997). Historical Eclipses and Earth's Rotation. Cambridge University Press.
  16. ^ D. Le Conte. Eclipse Quotations.
  17. ^ Herodotus. Book VII, 37.
  18. ^ Hind and Chambers (1889). untitled, 323.
  19. ^ Herodotus. Book IX, 10.
  20. ^ Herodotus. Book VIII, 131.
  21. ^ Herodotus. Book IX, 1.
  22. ^ B. E. Schaefer (May 1994). Solar Eclipses That Changed the World. Sky and Telescope, 36–39.
  23. ^ C. J. Humphreys and W. G. Waddington (22 December 1983). Dating the Crucifixion. Nature, Vol. 306, No. 5945, 743–746.
  24. ^ F. Espenak. Eye Safety During Solar Eclipses.
  25. ^ A. M. MacRobert. How to Watch a Partial Solar Eclipse Safely. Sky & Telescope magazine.
  26. ^ O. Staiger. Observing Eclipses Safely.
  27. ^ O. Staiger. The Experience of Totality.
  28. ^ The science of eclipses. ESA.
  29. ^ D. Dravins. Flying Shadows. Lund Observatory.
  30. ^ ESA. Relativity and the 1919 eclipse.
  31. ^ D. Criner. Musings About Twilight.
  32. ^ J. Meeus and A. Vitagliano. Simultaneous transits.
  33. ^ ISS-Venustransit (German).
  34. ^ Looking Back on an Eclipsed Earth. Astronomy Picture of the Day.
  35. ^ JSC Digital Image Collection.

External links

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Image File history File links Solar_eclipse_Part_1. ... Image File history File links Sound-icon. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... May 3 is the 123rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (124th in leap years). ... Image File history File links Sound-icon. ...

General

Dr. Fred Espenak is an astrophysicist who works at the Goddard Space Flight Center. ...

Eye safety

August 21 is the 233rd day of the year (234th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1999 (MCMXCIX) was a common year starting on Friday, and was designated the International Year of Older Persons by the United Nations. ...

Dedicated eclipse pages

  • Pictures of the 2005-04-08 eclipse
  • March 29th 2006: Solar Eclipse Visualizations, P. Hemmingsson (Sciss AB)
  • Solar Eclipse March 29 2006: All you need to know!
  • Antalya: Preparations made in Antalya, Turkey, for expected visits by 29 March 2006 solar eclipse observers
  • Solar Eclipse Headquarters at Space.com

  Results from FactBites:
 
Solar eclipse - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (4442 words)
The magnitude of an eclipse is the ratio of the apparent size of the Moon to the apparent size of the Sun during an eclipse.
During a central eclipse, the Moon's umbra (or antumbra, in the case of an annular eclipse) moves rapidly from west to east across the Earth.
A solar eclipse of 15 June 763 BC mentioned in an Assyrian text is important for the Chronology of the Ancient Orient.
Eclipse - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1300 words)
For solar eclipses, the viewer is in the penumbra part of the Moon's shadow.
For solar eclipses, the viewer is in the antumbra part of the Moon's shadow.
The ratio between the apparent sizes of the eclipsing body and that of the luminary is called the magnitude of the eclipse.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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