[Explained] The Eclipse of The Sun – All You Need to Know

oasdom.com solar eclipse of the sun
oasdom.com solar eclipse of the sun

When you hear the word eclipse (eclipse of the Sun, lunar eclipse, total & partial eclipse) what comes to your mind? An eclipse happens when a planet or a moon gets in the way of the sun’s light.

This quick article presents you with information about eclipse of the Sun:

What is Eclipse of the Sun?

Eclipse of the Sun or solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the image of the Sun for a viewer on Earth.


That means during the day, the moon moves over the sun and it gets dark. In other words the sun, moon and earth line up, with the moon in the middle.

Solar Eclipse Diagram

Here’s a solar eclipse diagram by Exloratium

eclipse of the sun
Solar Eclipse – Image illustration by Exploratium

Isn’t it strange that it gets dark in the middle of the day?

A total eclipse of the sun occurs when the Moon’s apparent diameter is larger than the Sun’s, blocking all direct sunlight, turning day into darkness.

The sun’s 864,000-mile diameter is fully 400 times greater than that of the moon, which measures just about 2,160 miles.

But the moon also happens to be about 400 times closer to Earth than the sun (the ratio varies as both orbits are elliptical), and as a result, when the orbital planes intersect and the distances align favorably, the new moon can appear to completely blot out the disk of the sun.

There are actually two types of shadows: the umbra is that part of the shadow where all sunlight is blocked out. The umbra takes the shape of a dark, slender cone. It is surrounded by the penumbra, a lighter, funnel-shaped shadow from which sunlight is partially obscured.

Total Solar eclipse occurs about every year and a half somewhere on Earth. A partial eclipse of the sun occurs when the moon doesn’t completely cover the sun and it happens at least twice in a year someplace on Earth.

Lunar Eclipse Definition

Lunar eclipse also referred to as eclipse of the moon occurs when the Sun, Earth and Moon are aligned, with the earth in the middle blocking sunlight from reaching the Moon.

During this moment, the moon can also look reddish. The reddening of the moon, or the blood moon phenomenon, is due to light from the sun being scattered by Earth’s atmosphere.

The light traveling from the sun to the edges of the Earth is forced to pass through thick layers of Earth’s atmosphere. Sunlight bending through the atmosphere and absorbing other colors is also why sunsets are orange and red.

lunar eclipse of the moon

During a total lunar eclipse, the moon is shining from all the sunrises and sunsets occurring on Earth! But how big is the moon? Read that for more information.

The Difference Between Eclipse of the Sun and Moon

It’s easy to get these two types of eclipses mixed up. An easy way to remember the difference is in the name.

The name tells you what gets darker when the eclipse happens. In eclipse of the sun, the sun gets darker. In a lunar eclipse, the moon gets darker.

What Do You See During a Total Eclipse of the Sun?

If you’re in the path of the total solar eclipse, you should know you’re about to experience a rare moment!

According to Vox the first thing you’re going to see is a partial eclipse: the moon slowly starting to obscure the sun. For most of the country, this is all you’ll see. It’s pretty cool.

solar eclipse of the sunSijori Images / Barcroft India / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

During a partial solar eclipse, shadows form eerie crescent shapes.

fdecomite / Flickr

When totality nears, that’s when the show really begins. There are a couple of awesome phenomena that you can look out for.

Right before totality, the last glimpse of light from the sun will form a “diamond ring” in the sky.

Solar eclipse of the sunSSPL/Getty Images

You’ll also be able to see “Baily’s beads” (named after astronomer Francis Baily) — bits of light poking through canyons and craters on the roughed-up surface of the moon.

solar eclipse of the sunSSPL/Getty Image

Then comes totality: The moon is fully covering the sun.

Related: 12 things that would happen if the sun disappeared

Depending on your location, this will last for about two minutes (in other eclipses, it has lasted for as long as seven).

solar eclipse of the sun image
solar eclipse of the sun image

WARNING! Eye Safety During Solar Eclipse

Permanent eye damage can result from looking at the disk of the Sun directly, or through a camera viewfinder, or with binoculars or a telescope even when only a thin crescent of the Sun or Baily’s Beads remain.

The 1 percent of the Sun’s surface still visible is about 10,000 times brighter than the full moon. Staring at the Sun under such circumstances is like using a magnifying glass to focus sunlight onto tinder.

The retina is delicate and irreplaceable. There is little or nothing a retinal surgeon will be able to do to help you.

Never look at the Sun outside of the total phase of an eclipse unless you have adequate eye protection.

Important Dates – Solar Eclipse Calendar From 2011 – 2030

First the next Total Solar Eclipse Will be on Monday, August 21, which will cut through the United States. Learn more.

Eclipse of The Sun Calendar

The table below by EclipseWise lists every solar eclipse from 2011 through 2030. Click on the eclipse Calendar Date to see a global map showing where the eclipse is visible from.

Eclipses of the Sun: 2011 – 2030
Calendar DateTD of Greatest EclipseEclipse TypeSaros SeriesEclipse MagnitudeCentral DurationGeographic Region of Eclipse Visibility
2011 Jan 0408:51:42Partial1510.858Europe, Africa, c Asia
2011 Jun 0121:17:18Partial1180.601e Asia, n N. America, Iceland
2011 Jul 0108:39:30Partial1560.097s Indian Ocean
2011 Nov 2506:21:24Partial1230.905s Africa, Antarctica, Tasmania, N.Z.
2012 May 2023:53:53Annular1280.94405m46sAsia, Pacific, N. America
[Annular: China, Japan, Pacific, w U.S.]
2012 Nov 1322:12:55Total1331.05004m02sAustralia, N.Z., s Pacific, s S. America
[Total: n Australia, s Pacific]
2013 May 1000:26:20Annular1380.95406m03sAustralia, N.Z., c Pacific
[Annular: n Australia, Solomon Is., c Pacific]
2013 Nov 0312:47:36Hybrid1431.01601m40se Americas, s Europe, Africa
[Hybrid: Atlantic, c Africa]
2014 Apr 2906:04:32Annular1480.987s Indian, Australia, Antarctica
[Annular: Antarctica]
2014 Oct 2321:45:39Partial1530.811n Pacific, N. America
2015 Mar 2009:46:47Total1201.04502m47sIceland, Europe, n Africa, n Asia
[Total: n Atlantic, Faeroe Is, Svalbard]
2015 Sep 1306:55:19Partial1250.788s Africa, s Indian, Antarctica
2016 Mar 0901:58:19Total1301.04504m09se Asia, Australia, Pacific
[Total: Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi, Pacific]
2016 Sep 0109:08:02Annular1350.97403m06sAfrica, Indian Ocean
[Annular: Atlantic, c Africa, Madagascar, Indian]
2017 Feb 2614:54:32Annular1400.99200m44ss S. America, Atlantic, Africa, Antarctica
[Annular: Pacific, Chile, Argentina, Atlantic, Africa]
2017 Aug 2118:26:40Total1451.03102m40sN. America, n S. America
[Total: n Pacific, U.S., s Atlantic]
2018 Feb 1520:52:33Partial1500.599Antarctica, s S. America
2018 Jul 1303:02:16Partial1170.336s Australia
2018 Aug 1109:47:28Partial1550.737n Europe, ne Asia
2019 Jan 0601:42:38Partial1220.715ne Asia, n Pacific
2019 Jul 0219:24:07Total1271.04604m33ss Pacific, S. America
[Total: s Pacific, Chile, Argentina]
2019 Dec 2605:18:53Annular1320.97003m39sAsia, Australia
[Annular: Saudi Arabia, India, Sumatra, Borneo]
2020 Jun 2106:41:15Annular1370.99400m38sAfrica, se Europe, Asia
[Annular: c Africa, s Asia, China, Pacific]
2020 Dec 1416:14:39Total1421.02502m10sPacific, s S. America, Antarctica
[Total: s Pacific, Chile, Argentina, s Atlantic]
2021 Jun 1010:43:06Annular1470.94303m51sn N. America, Europe, Asia
[Annular: n Canada, Greenland, Russia]
2021 Dec 0407:34:38Total1521.03701m54sAntarctica, S. Africa, s Atlantic
[Total: Antarctca]
2022 Apr 3020:42:36Partial1190.640se Pacific, s S. America
2022 Oct 2511:01:19Partial1240.862Europe, ne Africa, Mid East, w Asia
2023 Apr 2004:17:55Hybrid1291.01301m16sse Asia, E. Indies, Australia, Philippines. N.Z.
[Hybrid: Indonesia, Australia, Papua New Guinea]
2023 Oct 1418:00:40Annular1340.95205m17sN. America, C. America, S. America
[Annular: w US, C. America, Columbia, Brazil]
2024 Apr 0818:18:29Total1391.05704m28sN. America, C. America
[Total: Mexico, c US, e Canada]
2024 Oct 0218:46:13Annular1440.93307m25sPacific, s S. America
[Annular: s Chile, s Argentina]
2025 Mar 2910:48:36Partial1490.938nw Africa, Europe, n Russia
2025 Sep 2119:43:04Partial1540.855s Pacific, N.Z., Antarctica
2026 Feb 1712:13:05Annular1210.96302m20ss Argentina & Chile, s Africa, Antarctica
[Annular: Antarctica]
2026 Aug 1217:47:05Total1261.03902m18sn N. America, w Africa, Europe
[Total: Arctic, Greenland, Iceland, Spain]
2027 Feb 0616:00:47Annular1310.92807m51sS. America, Antarctica, w & s Africa
[Annular: Chile, Argentina, Atlantic]
2027 Aug 0210:07:49Total1361.07906m23sAfrica, Europe, Mid East, w & s Asia
[Total:Morocco, Spain, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Somalia]
2028 Jan 2615:08:58Annular1410.92110m27se N. America, C. & S. America, w Europe, nw Africa
[Annular: Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Suriname, Spain, Portugal]
2028 Jul 2202:56:39Total1461.05605m10sSE Asia, E. Indies, Australia, N.Z.
[Total: Australia, N. Z.]
2029 Jan 1417:13:47Partial1510.871N. America, C. America
2029 Jun 1204:06:13Partial1180.458Arctic, Scandanavia, Alaska, n Asia, n Canada
2029 Jul 1115:37:18Partial1560.230s Chile, s Argentina
2029 Dec 0515:03:57Partial1230.891s Argentina, s Chile, Antarctica
2030 Jun 0106:29:13Annular1280.94405m21sEurope, n Africa, Mid East, Asia, Arctic, Alaska
[Annular: Algeria, Tunesia, Greece, Turkey, Russia, n. China, Japan]
2030 Nov 2506:51:37Total1331.04703m44ss Africa, s Indian Oc., E. Indies, Australia, Antarctica
[Total: Botswana, S. Africa, Australia]

Geographic abbreviations (used above): n = north, s = south, e = east, w = west, c = central

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