The distance between the sun and the earth is four hundred times more than the distance between the moon and the earth. Therefore, it is possible that the moon hides the sun completely or to a large extent. In the way, the people living on the earth are unable to view the sun.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon comes between the sun and the earth during the course of its movement. As a result, a complete or partial portion of the sun is hidden. The moon casts its shadow on the earth. However, this shadow does not fall on every region of the earth at the same time. It occurs in a particular region after approximately 370 years. The maximum duration of a solar eclipse is 7 minutes and 40 seconds. However, a partial solar eclipse can occur more than once during a year. A historically important complete solar eclipse occurred in 1999 in Europe.
Complete Solar Eclipse
A complete solar
eclipse occurs when the distance between the moon and the earth is such that
when the moon comes between the earth and the sun, it completely hides the
latter. Since the axis of the earth and the moon are elliptical, the distance
of the sun and the moon from the earth keeps varying. This is the reason why a
partial eclipse occurs at times.
During a complete solar eclipse, the distance between the moon and earth is comparatively less. That is why a complete solar eclipse occurs. This leads to complete darkness. Often, it is so dark that stars can be seen on the sky.
Partial Solar Eclipse
During a partial solar eclipse, the moon does not come directly between the sun and the moon. Instead, it partially hides the sun from view. Mostly, it is the partial solar eclipse that occurs. A complete solar eclipse is a rare phenomenon.
Observing a solar eclipse directly can prove to be very harmful for the eyes. The eyesight can be completely damaged. Looking at the sun with your everyday sun glasses is also not safe. This is because the harmful rays of the sun can pass through the sunglasses. That is why it is recommended to use protective filters while observing this miracle of nature.
During a partial solar eclipse, it does not get completely dark. There is an interval of 13.9 to 15.6 days between the occurrence of a lunar eclipse and a solar eclipse. Usually, a solar eclipse occurs at the 28th or 29th of the Islamic month.
The solar eclipse which occurred on the 22nd of July 2009 was the longest solar eclipse of history with respect to its duration. It lasted for five and a half hours.