What makes a solar eclipse? Thank you!
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A solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves in a line directly between earth and the sun, casting a shadow on earth. This produces a solar eclipse. This situation occurs during new-moon phases. The moon is eclipsed when it moves within Earth’s shadow, producing a lunar eclipse. This situation occurs during full- moon phases.
During a total solar eclipse, the moon casts a circular shadow that is never wider than 275 kilometers, about the length of South Carolina. Anyone observing in this region will see the moon slowly block the sun from view and the sky darken. When the eclipse is almost com- plete, the temperature sharply drops a few degrees. The solar disk is completely blocked for seven minutes at the most. This happens because the moon’s shadow is so small. Then one edge of the solar disk reappears.
When the eclipse is complete, the dark moon is seen covering the complete solar disk. Only the sun’s brilliant white outer atmosphere is visible. Total solar eclipses are visible only to people in the dark part of the moon’s shadow known as the umbra. A partial eclipse is seen by those in the light portion of the shadow, known as the penumbra.
A total solar eclipse is a rare event at any location. The next one that will be visible from the United States will take place on August 21, 2017. It will sweep southeast across the country from Oregon to South Carolina.