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Wendy Cicchetti
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By Celestial Design



A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, and the Moon fully or partially covers the Sun as viewed from some location on Earth. This can only happen during a new moon, when the Sun and Moon are in conjunction as seen from Earth. At least two, and up to five, solar eclipses occur each year; no more than two can be total eclipses. Total solar eclipses are nevertheless rare at any particular location because totality exists only along a narrow path traced by the Moon's umbra. Eclipses recur in the same astrological signs over what is termed the Saros cycle, a period of approximately 18 years 11 days.

A total solar eclipse is a natural phenomenon. Nevertheless, in ancient times, and in some cultures today, solar eclipses have been attributed to supernatural causes or regarded as bad omens. A total solar eclipse can be frightening to people who are unaware of their astronomical explanation, as the Sun seems to disappear in the middle of the day and the sky darkens in a matter of minutes.


A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth's shadow falls on the moon. Lunar eclipses occur, on average, about every 6 months.

A total Lunar Eclipse occurs when the entire moon enters the Earth's umbra (the darkest part of its shadow), this is called a total eclipse. A partial Eclipse is when only part of the moon enters the Earth's umbra, this is called a partial eclipse. During an average total lunar eclipse, the moon is within the Earth's umbra for about an hour. This is called totality.

Since the plane of the moon's orbit is inclined about 5° from the plane of the Earth's orbit, lunar eclipses are relatively infrequent. There are about two lunar eclipses each year (visible somewhere on Earth).

Eclipse info from NASA

2018 Eclipses

January 31, -Total Lunar - northwestern South America, most of western North America, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, eastern Africa, eastern Europe, the Pacific Ocean, and the Indian Ocean.

Feb 15, - Partial Solar - parts of Chile, Argentina, southern Brazil, Uruguary, Falkland Islands, South Georgia, South Orkney Islands, South Shetland Islands, most of Antartcita, South Pacific Ocean, South Atlantic Ocean.

July 13, - Partial Solar - Tasmania, southern edge of Australia, islands south of New Zealand, South Pacific and Indian Oceans.