8 interesting facts you should know before the partial solar eclipse
Eclipse totalities don’t always have the same lengths and the first ever solar eclipse recordings were discovered in China.Updated: Aug 11, 2018 09:19 IST
Hindustan Times, Delhi
What is a solar eclipse?
A solar eclipse takes place when the moon passes in a direct line between the earth and the sun. The moon’s shadow travels above the earth’s surface, and the sun’s light (as seen from earth) is blocked out.
What is a partial solar eclipse?
A partial solar eclipse takes place when the earth moves through the lunar penumbra as the moon travels between the earth and the sun. It is referred to as ‘partial’ because the moon does not block the entirety of the sun, when witnessed from the earth.
How to see an eclipse
When seeing an eclipse, you should always use approved filters or use an indirect method of seeing it. Never look at the solar eclipse directly as it could blind you or lead to severe eye damage.
Interesting facts about the eclipse
There are various interesting facts about the solar eclipse which you should know.
1. A solar eclipse only takes place during a New Moon. This is because the moon needs to be between the sun and the earth for the eclipse to take place.
2. Eclipse totalities differ in their lengths. This is because the earth is not always at the same distance from the sun, and the moon is not always at the same distance from the earth.
3. China is known to have the first ever recordings of solar eclipses. These recordings were extolled on pieces of bone and were referred to as ‘oracle bones’. They date back to around 1050 BC.
4. In prehistoric times, people believed that an eclipse was a warning from the gods and they were going to be punished for some deeds which they had done.
5. The word ‘Eclipse’ in Greek means downfall.
6. Canadian astronomer J.W. Campbell travelled all over the globe for 50 years in his efforts to see 12 different eclipses. Unfortunately, each and every time he ran into overcast skies.
7. In Chinese, solar eclipse is referred to as ‘shih’, which means ‘to eat’. In ancient times people in China used to beat drums in an attempt to scare the ‘heavenly dog’, which they believed was eating up the sun.
8. The solar eclipse which took place on August 21, 2017, over continental US was the first total eclipse to take place there in 38 years and was nicknamed the The Great American Eclipse. The previous one had occurred on February 26, 1979.
First Published: Aug 11, 2018 09:15 IST