Different types of solar eclipse
There are three main types of solar eclipse:
- Partial solar eclipse. This is when the Moon does not line up completely with the Sun, and so only partially blocks the sunlight from reaching Earth.
- Annular solar eclipse. This is when the Moon and the Sun are both exactly in line but either the Moon is further from Earth or the Earth is closer to the Sun. When this happens, the apparent size of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun and the Sun then appears as a very bright ring, or annulus, surrounding the dark disk of the Moon.
- Total solar eclipse. A total eclipse happens when the dark silhouette of the Moon completely covers the intense bright light of the Sun. Only the much fainter solar corona is visible during a total eclipse.
Facts about solar eclipses
- Each year there are between 2 and 5 solar eclipses.
- The total solar eclipse, when the Moon completely obscures the Sun and leaves only the faint solar corona, is known as a Totality.
- Total solar eclipses are rare, happening only once every 18 months.
- There is another type of solar eclipse, known as a hybrid eclipse, which shifts between a total and annular eclipse depending on where you view it from on Earth. These are comparatively rare.
- The speed of the Moon as it moves across the Sun is approximately 2,250 km (1,398 miles) per hour.
- From either the North or South Pole, only a partial solar eclipse is able to be viewed.
- A total solar eclipse can last a maximum of 7 minutes and 30 seconds.
- 269 km is the maximum width of the path of totality.
- Almost identical eclipses occur after 18 years and 11 days – known as the Saros Cycle.