Eclipses are a fascinating part of our universe and they are often exciting events around the world. Learn more about the different types of eclipses with Rainbow Symphony today!
A solar eclipse is when the sun is covered by the Moon. There are four types of solar eclipses.
In a partial eclipse, the Moon crosses the path of the sun, but does not completely block it out. The umbral shadow of the Moon misses the Earth, and only its penumbral shadow hits us. We end up seeing a sun that looks like a bite has been taken out of it.
An annular eclipse, from the word annulus (ring), occurs when the Moon completely covers the center of the sun, but it leaves the edges uncovered. There is a bright ring of the sun still visible in these cases.
When the Moon totally covers the sun, you get a total eclipse. Since the Moon is many times smaller than the sun, a total eclipse can only occur when its orbit falls very close to the Earth. In a total eclipse, you get to see the sun’s stunning corona.
A relatively rare event, a hybrid eclipse is when one part of the Earth sees an annular eclipse, while another part of the Earth sees a total eclipse.
A lunar eclipse can only occur on a Full Moon when the Moon passes through a portion of Earth’s shadow. The next few lunar eclipses fall on Jan 31, 2018, July 27, 2018, and January 21, 2019.
When the entire Moon passes through Earth’s shadow you get a total lunar eclipse. The effects are especially striking, as often the Moon will look like it has taken on a red color.
In a partial eclipse, a portion of the Moon passes through Earth’s umbral shadow. Visible to the naked eye, you’ll see that part of the Moon looks like it’s in total darkness.
Very difficult to spot, a penumbral eclipse is when the Moon passes through Earth’s penumbral shadow.
While Venus and Mercury are the only planets close enough to Earth for us to see a planetary transit, when they cross the disk of the sun, it’s a special kind of eclipse.
Transits of Venus
Transits of Venus generally occur in pairs, but each the first of the pair is generally eight years before the second. More than a century could pass before another pair occurs.
Transits of Mercury
There are about 13 transits of Mercury that occur each century. The next time Mercury will cross the disk of the sun will be November 11, 2019. We won’t see another until 2032.
Rainbow Symphony loves exploring our universe and teaching others about its wonders. Next time a solar, lunar, or planetary eclipse occurs, track it with eclipse glasses and other accessories from our collection.
*Important note: Solar eclipses should not be viewed with the naked eye.