Related topics: sun · magnetic field · solar flares

Image: 10 million star puzzle

When observed with the unaided eye, Omega Centauri, the object in this image, appears as a fuzzy, faint star. But the blue orb we see here is, in fact, a collection of stars—10 million of them. You cannot count them all, ...

Details of UK-led solar science mission revealed

Named after a Celtic goddess of the Sun, SULIS is a UK-led solar science mission, designed to answer fundamental questions about the physics of solar storms. The mission consists of a cluster of small satellites and will ...

Chile, Argentina prepare for spectacular solar eclipse

Day will briefly turn to night Tuesday over large parts of Chile and Argentina as a total eclipse of the Sun plunges a vast swath of the southern Pacific and the cone of South America into darkness.

Video: Proba-2's predicted view of 2 July eclipse

On 2 July 2019, a total solar eclipse will be visible from the South Pacific, falling over land for some parts of Chile and Argentina, with other South American countries enjoying a partial eclipse.

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Solar eclipse

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth so that the Sun is fully or partially covered. This can only happen during a new moon, when the Sun and Moon are in conjunction as seen from the Earth. At least two and up to five solar eclipses can occur each year on Earth, with between zero and two of them being total eclipses. Total solar eclipses are nevertheless rare at any location because during each eclipse totality exists only along a narrow corridor in the relatively tiny area of the Moon's umbra.

A total solar eclipse is a spectacular natural phenomenon and many people travel to remote locations to observe one. The 1999 total eclipse in Europe helped to increase public awareness of the phenomenon, as illustrated by the number of journeys made specifically to witness the 2005 annular eclipse and the 2006 total eclipse. The recent solar eclipse of January 26, 2009 was an annular eclipse (see below), while the solar eclipse of July 22, 2009 was a total solar eclipse.

In ancient times, and in some cultures today, solar eclipses have been attributed to supernatural causes. Total solar eclipses can be frightening for people who are unaware of their astronomical explanation, as the Sun seems to disappear in the middle of the day and the sky darkens in a matter of minutes.

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