ECLIPSES OF THE SUNIn its 27 days orbit of the Earth, the Moon sometimes passes directly in front of the Sun and we see a solar eclipse. In one of the natural worlds most eerie, beautiful spectacles, the dark circle of the Moon gradually creeps over the Sun. Between two and five solar eclipeses are visible from somewhere on the Earth each year. Partial eclipses, when only a portion of the Sun is covered by the Moon, are visible over a wide area. Total eclipses, when the Sun is completely hidden, can be seen from only a narrow regionof the Earths surface.
The Moon appears nearly the same size as the Sun in the
sky and covers it almost exactly when the two line up. The Sun disappears, the sky
darkens, the stars come out, and the Suns pink chromosphere and milky white
corona shine from around the Moons disc. The period of totalitl, when the Sun is
obscured, depends on the Moons distance from the Earth; the closer the Moon is, the
longer the eclipse lasts. Total eclipses occur fairly regularly, but any one plase
experriences a total eclipse only about anece every 360 years.