A solar eclipse is a natural phenomenon, which takes place when moon passes between sun and earth, such that sun is completely or partially covered. This can only take place during a new moon, when sun and moon is in conjunction, as seen from earth. This is how solar eclipse takes place. Though, usually, zero to two total solar eclipses occur every year, they are rare to be seen at any location. This is because every time an eclipse occurs, totality can be seen only along a narrow corridor, in relation to a small area of the moon's umbra. Depending upon the coverage of sun by the moon, eclipses are divided into various types.
Types of Solar Eclipse
There are primarily four types of solar eclipses that take place. These include
- Total Eclipse - A total eclipse takes place when sun is completely obscured by the moon. During this phenomenon, the bright disk of sun is completely covered by the dark silhouette of moon, leaving just the faint corona to be visible. At the time of a total eclipse, totality is visible only from at most a narrow track on the surface of earth.
- Annular Eclipse - An annular eclipse takes place when sun and moon are exactly in line. However, the apparent size of moon seems smaller than the sun. Therefore, sun appears as a very bright ring or annulus, surrounding the outline of moon.
- Hybrid Eclipse - A hybrid eclipse is midway between a total and annular eclipse. It is visible in the form of a total eclipse from certain parts of earth and as annular from some other parts in the world. However, hybrid eclipses are rather rare.
- Partial Eclipse - A partial eclipse occurs when sun and moon are not exactly in line. During a partial eclipse, moon covers the sun only partially. This phenomenon can widely be seen from a large area of earth i.e. more than the track of an annular or total eclipse. Moreover, some eclipses can only be seen as a partial eclipse, because the umbra never intersects earth's surface.