Scientists Say: Eclipse

This is what happens when a celestial body moves into the shadow of another

When the moon passes in front of the sun, the moon casts its shadow on the Earth, blocking the view of our local star. This is a type of eclipse (seen here in an illustration).

Ig0rZh/istockphoto

Eclipse (noun, “ee-CLIPs”)

This is when one celestial body — such as the moon or sun — moves into the shadow of another body. When the moon passes in front of the sun, it casts its shadow on the Earth. This causes a solar eclipse. During a lunar eclipse, Earth gets between the sun and the moon and casts its shadow over the moon. From Earth, the moon appears red. In a total eclipse, one object appears to be completely blocked by another. A partial eclipse leaves a part of the sun or moon visible from Earth.

In a sentence

A total solar eclipse occurs only about 75 times in every 100 years!  

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A lunar eclipse (left) occurs when the Earth comes between the moon and sun, casting its shadow on the moon. A solar eclipse (right) happens when the moon moves between the Earth and sun, casting its shadow on the Earth.NASA

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Bethany is the staff writer at Science News for Students. She has a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology from Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

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