The solar eclipse is one of the most interesting events in the solar cycle. This astronomical event happens when the sun, moon, and Earth are all in line with each other, which usually occurs around the summer solstice. When this happens, the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, which blocks most sunlight, hence the name, “solar eclipse.”
People usually watch the eclipse from locations near the sun, such as on a beach or in a park. But this phenomenon can be dangerous to watch, so it’s best to teach students about the eclipse before going outside. Here are five interesting facts about solar eclipses.
1) They must wear special glasses to watch the eclipse.
When viewing a solar eclipse, people must wear special glasses that protect their eyes from ultraviolet and infrared rays, damaging their eyesight. If you don’t have these kinds of glasses, it is best to wear sunglasses because they will reduce the amount of visible light coming through. This also goes for indoor viewing because sunlight contains ultraviolet rays too. As a teacher, you must teach students about the proper safety precautions before going outside to watch the eclipse.
2) Solar eclipses can only occur during a new moon.
Another interesting fact about a solar eclipse is that it can only happen during a new moon. On the other hand, Lunar eclipses only occur during full moons because the sun’s light is directly reflected from one side of the moon to another. But this doesn’t mean solar and lunar eclipses are very different even though they have similar names. They both last for a few hours, and the sequence of events during an eclipse is also very similar.
3) It lasts for several hours before and after totality.
Typically, it takes several hours for a solar eclipse to happen. The “path of totality,” an area where the sun is completely blocked as the moon passes by, may only last for a couple of minutes before and after totality. During these few minutes, people who are outside can see the sun’s corona, which is usually not visible to the naked eye.
4) A total solar eclipse is a rare event.
A total solar eclipse is a rare event because it only happens about every one or two years. It’s also difficult to see from certain locations near the equator, and most people who live in these areas have never witnessed a total solar eclipse before. It is, therefore, one of the joyous events to look forward to every once in a while, that is, if you enjoy astronomy or even just natural phenomena.
5) North and South poles are not eligible for watching a solar eclipse.
People who live at the north and south poles cannot view a solar eclipse because the moon doesn’t pass between the sun and these areas. This means that there is no darkness or “path of totality” for people in these places. As an astronomy teacher, you should show students why this happens on a map of Earth during your next lesson. The main reason why this happens is due to the moon’s orbit. The moon’s orbit tilts five degrees from Earth’s ecliptic plane, which means that eclipses do not occur when Earth’s tilt is at its maximum or minimum.
With all of these interesting facts, students will definitely love to learn about the solar eclipse. These special events occur around the summer solstice, and it’s best that students fully understand what is going on, so they don’t miss this spectacular event in the future.