Why Do Eclipses Happen?
- Updated on 16 Jun 2022
- Child Learning
- Mautushi Paul
- 4 mins read
Do you know why eclipses happen? It’s actually quite simple! An eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun. The moon casts a shadow on the Earth, blocking out the sun. Eclipses can be partial or total, depending on how much of the sun is blocked out. They can also happen during different parts of the month, depending on where the moon is in its orbit. Next time there’s an eclipse, look up at the sky and learn more about this natural phenomenon!
Process of solar eclipse explained!
1. First, the moon orbits around the Earth. As the moon orbits the Earth, it sometimes moves between the Earth and the sun.
2. When the moon is in between the Earth and the sun, it casts a shadow on the Earth. The shadow blocks out some of the sunlight, causing an eclipse.
3. So we humans from earth witness that as the moon orbits and crosses in front of the sun, it casts a shadow on Earth. But what’s actually happening is that the sun, moon and Earth line up perfectly so that the moon blocks sunlight from reaching Earth.
4. When this happens, the sky darkens, and we see a solar eclipse!
Why does this happen?
It’s all due to the fact that the sun, moon and Earth line up perfectly so that the moon blocks sunlight from reaching Earth.
So there you have it! The next time you see a solar eclipse, remember that it’s happening because the sun, moon and Earth are in a line.
Process of lunar eclipse explained!
1. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes into Earth’s shadow. This can happen only when the sun, Earth and moon are aligned precisely, or very closely so, with Earth in between
2. The earth’s shadow will completely cover the moon if the alignment is perfect. If the alignment is off by a little bit, the moon will be partially in Earth’s shadow
3. During a lunar eclipse, the moon will often turn red. This is because some sunlight is bent around Earth and then casts its light on the moon.
4. A lunar eclipse can last a few hours, but a solar eclipse usually lasts only a few minutes.
5. Solar eclipses can be dangerous because the sun’s rays can damage your eyes. You should never look directly at a solar eclipse, even if the moon mostly covers the sun.
6. If you want to see a solar eclipse, you should use special glasses or filters or build a simple projector to project the sun’s image onto a screen.
7. Lunar eclipses are safe to watch because you are not looking directly at the sun
8. You can see lunar eclipses with the naked eye, but solar eclipses require special equipment
9. Solar eclipses happen when the moon passes between Earth and the sun, and lunar eclipses happen when Earth passes between the sun and the moon
10. Solar and lunar eclipses can only happen during certain moon phases.
Why should you never look directly at the sun during a solar eclipse?
It is never safe to look directly at the sun, even during a solar eclipse. It is only safe to look directly at the sun during the brief period of totality when the moon completely covers the sun. Even then, using special eclipse glasses or other indirect viewing methods is essential to protect your eyes. Looking directly at the sun can cause serious eye damage, even if the moon partially covers it. When the sun is only partially obscured, as, during a partial eclipse, it is more dangerous to look at because your eyes may be tricked into thinking it is safe. The only time it is safe to look directly at the sun is during the brief period of totality when the moon completely covers the sun. Even then, it is important to use special eclipse glasses or other indirect viewing methods to protect your eyes.
Activities for kids to explain eclipses!
1. Make a Sun Catcher
You will need white paper, scissors, pencil, plate, tape, construction paper, crayons or markers
1. Trace a plate on the white paper and cut it out.
2. Decorate the “sun” with crayons or markers.
3. Cut a small piece of tape and attach the “sun” to the centre of the plate.
4. Cut out a moon from the construction paper. If you want, you can decorate it too!
5. Tape the moon over the “sun”.
6. Hold your suncatcher up to the light and watch the eclipse happen right before your eyes!
2. Create an Eclipse Viewer
You will need a shoebox, aluminium foil, a pen, scissors, a pin, and a sheet of white paper.
1. Trace the bottom of the shoebox on the aluminium foil and cut it out.
2. Make a small hole in the centre of the foil with a pen or a pencil.
3. Cut out a small square from the white paper. This will be your eclipse viewer screen.
4. Poke a small hole in the centre of the square with a pin.
5. Put the aluminium foil over one end of the shoebox and tape it down. Make sure the hole is in the centre.
6. Put the white paper over the other end of the shoebox and tape it down. Again, make sure the hole is in the centre.
7. Look through the hole in the aluminium foil at the eclipse. The paper will act as a screen, and you will be able to see the eclipse.
8. Enjoy the eclipse!
So, there you have it. Eclipses are a natural occurrence that can be predicted and prepared for. While they may seem like a scary event, with proper planning, they can be enjoyed by everyone involved. As always, please remember that your children will look to you for guidance during this time, so be sure to keep an open mind and remain calm. Have questions about eclipses that we didn’t answer here? Let us know in the comments below!
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