What is Solar Eclipse ?

  • June, 2020

A solar eclipse happens when, at just the right moment, the moon passes between the sun and Earth.

This is the simplest definition you can give to anyone who has no idea about what is eclipse. But when it comes to understanding completely, this simple sentence isn’t enough.


An eclipse of the Sun happens when the New Moon moves between the Sun and Earth, blocking out the Sun's rays and casting a shadow on parts of Earth. Whether the alignment produces a total solar eclipse, a partial solar eclipse or an annular solar eclipse depends on several factors.


Types of Solar Eclipses

There are 4 types of eclipses depends on 3 main factor How much of the Sun's disk is eclipsed, the eclipse magnitude, depends on which part of the Moon's shadow falls on Earth.which part of the Moon's shadow falls on Earth.

Partial solar eclipses : A partial solar eclipse occurs when only the penumbra (the partial shadow) passes over you. In these cases, a part of the sun always remains in view during the eclipse.

Total solar eclipses: This happen when the Moon completely covers the Sun, and it can only take place when the Moon is near perigee, the point of the Moon's orbit closest to Earth. You can only see a total solar eclipse if you're in the path where the Moon's casts its darkest shadow, the umbra. On the average a total eclipse occurs somewhere on Earth about every 18 months. During the brief period of totality, when the sun is completely covered, the beautiful corona — the tenuous outer atmosphere of the sun — is revealed. Totality may last as long as 7 minutes 31 seconds

Annular solar eclipse

Annular solar eclipse is similar to a total eclipse in that the moon appears to pass centrally across the sun. The difference is, the moon is too small to cover the disk of the sun completely. Because the moon circles Earth in an elliptical orbit, its distance from Earth can vary from 221,457 miles to 252,712 miles. But the dark shadow cone of the moon’s umbra can extend out for no longer than 235,700 miles; that’s less than the moon’s average distance from Earth.

Hybrid Solar Eclipses

also known as annular-total (A-T) eclipses, are the rarest type. They occur when the same eclipse changes from an annular to a total solar eclipse, and/or vice versa, along the eclipse's path.
An A-T eclipse starts as an annular eclipse because the tip of the umbra falls just short of making contact with Earth; then it becomes total, because the roundness of the planet reaches up and intercepts the shadow tip near the middle of the path, then finally it returns to annular toward the end of the path.
Hybrid solar eclipses are relatively rare. After 2023 there’s a gap of eight years until the next one on November 14, 2031. Beyond that, two come along in quick succession in 2049 and 2050. However, for eclipse-chasers heading to the Path of Totality on April 20, 2023, it will be just a normal total solar eclipse … if there is such a thing!

These are the some basic things that you should know about solar eclipses, Now let’s jump into practical part - How to observe Solar Eclipse ? But before we start Read and understand the below sentence carefully …

Whatever you do, never look at the sun directly without a safe filter in place to protect your eyes. Besides your unprotected eyeballs, here are some other things you should not use.
Do NOT use sunglasses, polaroid filters, smoked glass, exposed color film, X-ray film, or photographic neutral density filters.

Some general tips , that can apply to whatever device you are using to capture the eclipse.
  • Do a try run on the uneclipsed Sun at least a couple of weeks beforehand. Begin by letting the camera's/mobile’s light meter choose the exposure. Then try a variety of other exposures on either side of it. Keep notes and see which comes out best.
  • If you're near the path of totality, the Sun will become very thin. When this happens, increase the exposure — both for esthetic effect and to compensate for the fact that the Sun's surface brightness is less near its limb.
  • If the Sun nearly fills the frame, focus to make the solar limb look sharp where it will actually fall on the film, near the frame's edges; don't move it to the center to focus on.
  • Here are the setting that I use to capture eclipse from my DSLR Canon 77 D with 18-55 lens with , ISO 200 and f/5.6.
    • Full Sun: 1/1000th of a second or faster;
    • Partial Solar Eclipse: 1/500 – 1/250th of a second;
    • Diamond Ring: 1/250th of a second
  • Mobile Phone
    • It’s not impossible to take a picture of the solar eclipse with a cellphone camera, but you’ll need extra equipment, both to keep your eyes safe and to get the best possible shot.
    • Just hold a pair of eclipse glasses over the phone’s camera and then point it at the sun to snap a photo, sun size will be again depends on how’s your phone camera magnification just take care that you won’t over magnify otherwise it won’t be smooth (pixelated).
    • Turn on the HDR mode to get more overall details in the photos and also Turn off flash on your phone completely. It will ruin your photos
    • Focus on the sun and lock the camera focuses on it only
    • Opt for Burst mode to get the best possible images
    • (Note: You can apply this tips by attaching you Mobile Phone with telescope)
  • You can also create pin whole projector to observe the eclipse indirectly.
    And if you are more curious about 2023 Hybrid Solar Eclipse.