Solar eclipse

2017 total solar eclipse, eclipse, sun, moon, skywatching, stargazing, amateur astronomy
During a total solar eclipse, the moon completely obscures the sun for parts of the Earth. Careful calculations help researchers and the public determine where to go to see the total blackout. (Image credit: Miloslav Druckmüller, Peter Aniol, Martin Dietzel, Vojtech Rusin via NASA)

A solar eclipse is one of the most dazzling celestial phenomena that you can experience from Earth. It occurs when Earth, the moon and sun are aligned on the same plane, with the moon passing in front of the sun to cast a shadow on the planet below.

During a total solar eclipse, the moon completely covers the sun, which results in a period of "totality," when the moon completely blocks the light from the sun. This causes evening-like darkness during the daytime, as the center of the moon's dark shadow falls over Earth. Viewers do not experience totality during a partial solar eclipse, when the moon only blocks a portion of the sun's disk. 

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