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Table of Contents Enchanted Learning
All About Astronomy
Site Index
Our Solar System Stars Glossary Printables, Worksheets, and Activities
The Sun The Planets The Moon Asteroids Kuiper Belt Comets Meteors Astronomers

THE SUN
Introduction to the Sun Solar Structure Size, Mass Flares, Solar Wind, Prominences Sun's Birth Solar Eclipses Activities,
Web Links
Solar Rotation Sunspots Sun's Death

Solar Eclipses

A solar eclipse happens when the moon blocks our view of the sun. This happens when the Moon is exactly between the Sun and the Earth.

The longest solar eclipses occur when the Earth is at aphelion (farthest from the Sun, making the solar disc smaller) and the Moon is at perigee (closest to the Earth, making the Moons apparent diameter larger).

Stages in a Total Solar Eclipse
BAILY'S BEADS:
Baily's beads (often spelled Bailey's beads) are bead-like bursts of light that appear about 15 seconds before and after totality during a solar eclipse. Baily's beads are caused by light shining through valleys on the edge of the moon. They were named for the British astronomer Francis Baily (1774-1844), one of the founders of the Royal Astronomical Society.

DIAMOND RING:
The "Diamond Ring" is a large burst of light that appears a few seconds before and after totality.

TOTALITY:
Totality is the short part of an eclipse when the moon entirely blocks the Sun. Totality usually lasts for just a few minutes (no more than 8 minutes in any one location on Earth).

What We Can See During Totality

During a total solar eclipse some parts of the Sun that we normally can't see become visible,including the corona (the outermost layer of the sun's atmosphere). The corona is mostly X-ray emissions (which we can't see), but light from the photosphere is scattered by the loose electrons in the corona's plasma and we can see this. Normally, the intensely bright light of the photosphere (the visible disk of the Sun) dominates the corona and we don't see the corona. During an eclipse, the moon blocks the photosphere, and we can see the faint, scattered light of the corona (this part of the corona is called the K-Corona).

In the few minutes of totality, we can see the coronal streamers, polar plumes, and prominences.

Types of Solar Eclipses


Label the Solar Eclipse Diagram

A printout for labeling a solar eclipse.
Answers



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