Total solar eclipses occur when the new Moon comes between the Sun and Earth and also casts the darkest component of that shadow, the umbra, top top Earth.

You are watching: How dark does it get during a total eclipse


A full eclipse is spectacular to see.

During a full eclipse of the Sun, the Moon consist of the entire disk the the Sun. In partial and annular solar eclipses, the Moon blocks just a component of the Sun.

Not complete Everywhere

Only viewers located in the path of the Moon"s full shadow, its umbra, deserve to see a total solar eclipse. Those outside the path see a partial eclipse. By convention, therefore, eclipses are called after your darkest phase—if a solar eclipse is total at any suggest on Earth, the is dubbed a complete solar eclipse.

Hybrid solar eclipses or annular-total eclipses room an exemption to this rule. This is due to the fact that they change from one annular to a total eclipse or indigenous a complete to an annular eclipse along their path.

Animation: next eclipse in her city

Complete Solar Eclipse Has 5 Phases

There are five stages in a full solar eclipse:

Partial eclipse begins (1st contact): The Moon becomes visible end the Sun"s disk. The looks prefer the Moon has taken a bite the end of the Sun.Totality and maximum eclipse: The Moon totally covers the disk of the Sun. Just the Sun"s corona is visible. This is the many dramatic phase of a complete solar eclipse. In ~ this time, the skies goes dark, temperatures deserve to fall, and birds and animals regularly go quiet. The midpoint that time that totality is known as the maximum allude of the eclipse. Total eclipse ends (3rd contact): The Moon starts moving away, and the sunlight reappears. Those fortunate enough to be in the Moon"s umbral have the right to see Baily"s beads and also the diamond ring effect just after totality ends.Partial eclipse ends (4th contact): The eclipse ends as the Moon leaves the Sun"s disk.

Protect your Eyes!

Never look straight at the Sun, eclipsed or otherwise, without proper protective eyewear. The Sun’s radiation can burn her eye"s retinas and also cause permanent damage or even blindness.

To safely watch a solar eclipse, wear safety eclipse glasses or project photo of the overshadowed Sun utilizing a pinhole projector.

Only Safe throughout Full Eclipse

It is safe to view a completely eclipsed Sun, totality, v the nude eye. It is additionally safe to watch totality v cameras, telescopes, or binoculars without any type of special filters. Carry out not look at the sunlight with naked eyes uneven the Moon block the whole Sun. Even a small amount of straight sunlight can damage your eyes. Make certain you know how long totality lasts in your location.

Unique Sights roughly Totality


Phenomena just visible close to the totality.

Some sights are only visible during a total solar eclipse. They show up in this order as totality set in (and in reverse order as totality ends):

Shadow bands: around a minute before totality, moving, wavy present of alternative light and also dark deserve to be watched on the ground and along walls. This shadow bands space the an outcome of earth’s turbulent atmosphere refracting the last rays that sunlight.Diamond ring: Seen around 10 come 15 secs before and also after totality, the solar corona (the outer setting of the Sun) becomes visible. Along with the solitary jewel of irradiate from the Sun, it creates the famous diamond ring effect. The Sun"s corona: together the diamond ring fades, the outermost component of the Sun"s atmosphere becomes an ext prominent. That is visible as a pass out ring of rays bordering the silhouetted Moon and is roughly 200–300 time hotter than the Sun’s surface—its temperature have the right to reach over 1 million °C (1.8 million °F). Baily"s beads: around five seconds prior to totality, Baily"s beads appear. Lock are small bead-like blobs of irradiate at the leaf of the Moon produced by the sunshine passing through gaps in the mountains and also valleys top top the Moon"s surface.The Sun"s chromosphere: The 2nd most outer layer of the Sun’s atmosphere gives the end a reddish glow. The is only visible because that a couple of seconds best after totality.

These occasions then repeat in turning back order: First, the Sun"s chromosphere reappears just before totality ends. The Baily"s beads monitor this together the Moon proceeds to relocate away. The diamond ring and also corona then renders an appearance, following which zero bands reappear before the crescent sun is clearly shows again.

The scientific research of complete Solar Eclipses




Lunar nodes space the locations where the Moon crosses the Earth"s orbital plane.

The Moon"s orbital path roughly Earth is inclined at an angle of about 5° come the Earth"s orbital plane around the sun (ecliptic). There is no this slant, we would have the ability to see two eclipses every lunar month—a solar eclipse in ~ every brand-new Moon and a lunar eclipse in ~ every full Moon. In reality, solar eclipses take place only 2—5 time a year.

For a solar eclipse come occur, the new Moon should be at or an extremely close to among the two points wherein the orbit planes meet. These locations are dubbed lunar nodes.

If the Moon is not near a lunar node during brand-new Moon, the Sun, Moon, and also Earth perform not align in a straight or practically straight line, and also a solar eclipse cannot occur. Watched from Earth, the Moon overcome just over or just below the sun (see image).

Moon Phases

Near Lunar Perigee

The Moon"s path roughly Earth is elliptical, v one next of the orbit closer to earth than the other. The allude closest to earth is referred to as the perigee and also the side the furthest from planet is recognized as the apogee.

Earth"s orbit roughly the sunlight is additionally elliptical, through the sunlight closest at perihelion, and also farthest away at aphelion.

Earth"s and also the Moon"s elliptical orbits average that Earth’s street from the Sun and the Moon"s street from earth varies throughout the year. The also method that native Earth, the Sun"s and Moon"s apparent sizes adjust during the year.

See more: Does Picking Your Nose Make Your Nostrils Bigger ? Quick Answer: Can Picking Nose Make It Bigger

When the Moon is around 400 times closer to planet than the Sun, the Moon"s and also the Sun"s evident sizes around match. Since of this, full eclipses of the Sun deserve to only take place when the Moon is close to perigee—it is the just time when the decaying of the Moon looks large enough come cover the entire disk that the Sun.

What if the Moon is close to apogee?

How long Does Totality Last?

A complete solar eclipse deserve to last for several hours and also totality can variety from a couple of seconds to 7.5 minutes. The longest complete solar eclipse of the 21st century took location on July 22, 2009, when totality it is long 6 minutes and also 39 seconds!