March 29 2006

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Oct-3-2005 Solar Eclipse

What is a solar eclipse


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An exiting experience (Circolo Didattico S. Giuffrida, Catania)

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Warning: Sun observation with the naked eye can cause severe damage to the eye. The use of binoculars or telescope dramatically increases the risk. Only the use of obscured glasses especially built for this purpose allows you a safe observation. In case of observation with binoculars or telescopes, Sun filters must be installed following the makers directions.

A brief description of eclipses

The eclipse is the phenomenon that happens when a star, a planet or a satellite passes in front of another object which thus becomes totally or partially hidden.
An eclipse can be "total" if the eclipsed body is completely covered, "partial" when part of the eclipsed body always remains visible.
An observer on Earth can see Solar and Lunar eclipses.
An eclipse can take place when the Moon crosses the Sun-Earth line.
  • Solar eclipse: the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth
    (Sun-Moon-Earth alignment)
  • Lunar eclipse: the Moon passes through the shadow of the Earth
    (Sun-Earth-Moon alignment)

Eclipses of the Sun can take place during New Moon while eclipses of the Moon can take place during Full Moon.
An observer on Earth will see the phenomenon in different ways depending on his geographic position.

If an observer, during a Solar eclipse, is in a place in the exact direction of the Sun-Moon alignment (a strip less than 280 km wide of the Earth surface) he will see a total (or annular) eclipse; instead, if he finds himself a little distant from this strip then he will see a partial eclipse. In this last case, in fact, the Moon passes in front of the Sun but it will not completely cover it.

Here follow a simulation of the March 29 2006 eclipse:

The March 29 2006 eclipse was a partial one from our site, Catania (Italy).
The center of the eclipse was at 12:33 local saving time (10:33 UT) and an observer from our site saw 65% of the Sun surface covered by the Moon.
In Europe the eclipse has been best seen from some Turkish sites.

Eclipse Simulation

animated gif (1 Mb):

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