Solar Eclipse: The Triple-Trio Phenomenon

The Eart – Moon – Sun, What do all these celestial objects have in common, The Answer is “Nothing”. But there is a Phenomenon that interconnects these three celestial objects and it is known to us as Solar Eclipse. Have you ever wondered why this happens? How does it happen? Is it a sign of the end of the world? If you have any of these questions then you have come to the right place. But before we Get into the Topic, We should know its Discovery.


The word eclipse comes from ekleipsis, the ancient Greek word for being abandoned. The British astronomer and mathematician, Sir Arthur Eddington, used the total solar eclipse of May 29, 1919, to test Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. By clicking pictures of stars near the Sun during totality, Eddington was able to show that gravity can bend the light. This phenomenon later came to known as gravitational deflection.

In China, solar eclipses were thought to be correlated with the health and success of the emperor, and failing to predict one meant putting him in danger. Legend has it that 2 astrologers, Hsi and Ho, were executed for failing to predict a solar eclipse. Historians and astronomers believe that the eclipse that they failed to forecast occurred on October 22, 2134 BCE, which would make it the oldest solar eclipse ever reported in human history.


In a Nutshell, a Solar eclipse happens when the moon comes between the Planet Earth and Our Star “The Sun” and The moon forecasts its shadow on the Planet Earth.

There are generally 4 types of Solar Eclipse Discovered Till this date namely:

Total Eclipse – A total solar eclipse happens when the Moon covers the Sun’s disk. During a total solar eclipse, the daytime sky may darken temporarily and the temperature may fall. A total solar eclipse may last only a few minutes. They are rare events at any given location because the Moon’s shadow is small relative to the size of the Earth and traces a linear path across Earth’s surface.

Annular Eclipse – An annular solar eclipse happens when the Moon covers the Sun’s centre, leaving the Sun’s visible outer edges to form a ring-like structure around the Moon.

Partial Eclipse – Partial solar eclipses happen when the Moon comes between the Sun and Earth, but the Moon only partially covers the Sun’s disk.

Hybrid Eclipse – Hybrid solar eclipses happen when the Earth travels through the area where the Moon’s umbra meets its antumbra Because the Moon is smaller than the Sun, both its umbra (Inner Region)and its antumbra (Viewers Region) are V-shaped. The diameter of the umbra decreases with growing distance from the Moon.

Solar Eclipse doesn’t happen all the time because moons orbit is just tilted over 5 degrees relative to earth’s orbit around the sun. It can generally occur 2-5 times in a year. Each month the moon crosses the ecliptic point known as nodes. It crosses at one node going southward, and two weeks later it crosses at the other node going northward. The Solar Eclipse can only occur when the sun is near any of the nodes of the moon. Solar Eclipse Generally happens at new moon.

A Solar eclipse doesn’t happen at every full moon because most full moons pass too far north or too far south of the ecliptic and miss Earth’s shadow So there are two conditions for an eclipse: The sun must be crossing a node, and the moon must be crossing either the same node (solar eclipse) or the other node (lunar eclipse).

Potential Risks

It is extremely dangerous to look directly at the sun even during a solar eclipse. You should never try to observe a total, partial or annular eclipse with the naked eye. The most secure technique for viewing a solar eclipse is indirect viewing. For example, you can easily project an image of the sun onto a screen or you can view live streams on TV or online.

Children’s eyes in particular are greatly delicate and transmit more light through to the retina. This makes children’s eyes are more susceptible to damage from intense light. The use of eyewear marketed as ‘eclipse glasses’ has become more popular.

The safe use of these glasses relies on the filtering ability of the lenses and the design of the frames. Even where the lenses are certified to meet the applicable standards, improper use of these glasses may still result in serious eye damage.


Featured Image Credits:

Aadin Zeeshan

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