Types of Eclipses Explained

Seeing an eclipse could be one of the most memorable experiences of your life, especially if you’re viewing a total or annular solar eclipse. However, there are several different types of eclipses, and each of them offers a very different experience. Find out more about each type of eclipse below.

1. Total Solar Eclipses

One of the most magnificent and well-known types of solar eclipses, the total solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves in front of the sun from our vantage point during this event and completely covers the sun. Day suddenly turns to night as the shadow of the moon passes over the Earth’s surface.

Sunlight begins to take on a dramatically different quality just before the sun is covered by the moon, and after totality occurs, the sky will become dark enough for stars to become visible. If the sky is clear and the eclipse itself is visible, you’ll be able to see the corona of the sun. This is not visible at any other time.

The period of totality varies from one eclipse to another, but it’s only a few minutes. Seeing a total solar eclipse can be a life-changing experience. In order to witness a total solar eclipse, you need to be in the right place at the right time. That’s because the path of totality is less than 100 miles in diameter.

2. Partial Solar Eclipses

Partial solar eclipses can occur independently of a total eclipse, but they are also visible in regions that are outside the path of totality. In some cases, the path of totality does not occur on the surface of the Earth at all, which is why some solar eclipses do not have a path of totality.

Unless a very large portion of the sun is covered by the moon, partial solar eclipses only cause a slight darkening of the sky. However, if you look at the sun with our protective glasses, you’ll see that it appears as though a bite is taken out of it or it will have a crescent-like appearance. You’ll need to wear special glasses that protect your eyes in order to view a partial solar eclipse safely.

3. Annular Solar Eclipses

Annular eclipses occur when the moon passes directly in front of the sun, but it’s located too far away for the disk of the moon to fully block it. As a result, a ring of the sun’s light will be visible around the edges of the disk.

In order to view this ring of light safely, you will need to make sure that you’re wearing our protective eclipse glasses. In rare cases, a hybrid solar eclipse can occur, which is when a total solar eclipse becomes an annular eclipse later in its path or vice versa.

4. Lunar Eclipses

A lunar eclipse is entirely different from a solar eclipse. Lunar eclipses involve the shadow of the Earth covering the moon. So, a lunar eclipse is essentially a solar eclipse that is occurring on the lunar surface.

Due to the fact that the Earth is substantially closer than the sun, the period of totality lasts for longer. Also, you will not need to wear our protective glasses to view a lunar eclipse.

As with solar eclipses, there are different types of lunar eclipses that you can observe. While solar eclipses always occur during a full moon, eclipses of the moon only occur when the moon is full. These are the three different types of lunar eclipses that you can see:

  • Partial: Partial lunar eclipses occur when the moon is only partially covered by the Earth’s shadow. These eclipses often look like a bite has been taken out of the moon and cause the full moon to take on a crescent-like appearance if a larger part of the moon is eclipsed.
  • Total: Total lunar eclipses are when the shadow of the Earth completely covers the moon. The moon will often have a reddish or golden appearance during this type of lunar eclipse. This is because some sunlight from Earth’s atmosphere is refracted on to the lunar surface.
  • Penumbral: Penumbral lunar eclipses occur when the outer part of the Earth’s shadow covers the moon. If you were standing on the part of the lunar surface that’s affected by a penumbral eclipse, it would look like a partial solar eclipse where the Earth is covering the sun.

5. Planetary Transits

While planetary transits are not eclipses, they are similar in that they involve the disc of one of the planets passing in front of the disc of the sun. Solar transits of Mercury and Venus can occur since these planets are closer to the sun than Earth is. As with eclipses, you’ll need our protective glasses to view the transit.

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