December - snowflakes You are here: Home Photo gallery Astronomy Sun Total solar eclipse

A total solar eclipse is both one of the rarest of natural astronomical/weather events, and one of the most awe-inspiring. Since the angular diameter of the moon is about equal to that of the sun, a solar eclipse typically only lasts a few minutes, and only happens along a very narrow strip of land across the Earth, one or two times per year. This makes the chance of seeing a total solar eclipse from your back yard almost nil. Only when the lunar disk completely covers the sun will we be able to see the beautiful solar corona and the pink-magenta colored solar filaments in the sun's atmosphere. Since the moon's orbit is eccentric (elliptical), the angular diameter of the moon sometimes is too small to cover the sun completely and causes an annular solar eclipse.

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