n eclipse of the Sun, called a solar eclipse, occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun. When the Moon's shadow falls on Earth, people within that shadow see the Moon block out a portion of the Sun's light. The Moon's shadow doesn't always reach Earth. When this happens, no eclipse is seen on Earth. Solar eclipses happen only during New Moon phase.
Solar eclipses can be partial, total, or annular. Which kind you see depends on what part of the Moon's shadow falls on your observing location and the distance between Earth and the Moon when the eclipse happens.
The Moon's shadow has two parts: a penumbra
and an umbra
. The penumbra is the Moon's faint outer shadow. If you are within this shadow, you'll see a partial solar eclipse. During a partial solar eclipse
, the Moon covers only part of the Sun's disk. The umbra is the Moon's dark inner shadow. Eclipse observers standing within this shadow will see a total solar eclipse.