Eclipse | Short Reads

Imagine how frightened prehistoric people must have been when they saw a black disk covering up the Sun. This darkening of the Sun in the middle of the day is called an eclipse. The Moon can go dark in a similar way at night. Eclipses are caused by shadows.

ECLIPSES OF THE SUN

An eclipse of the Sun is also called a solar eclipse. The Moon orbits, or goes around, the Earth. As the Moon orbits, it sometimes gets directly between Earth and the Sun. When this happens, the Moon casts its shadow on Earth. The Moon’s shadow covers only a small part of Earth, not the entire planet. You can see the eclipse only if you happen to be in the part of Earth that gets covered.

There are three kinds of solar eclipses. Sometimes the Moon appears to block out the whole Sun. This is called a total solar eclipse. A bright ring, or halo, appears around the dark disk of the Moon during a total eclipse. The Sun’s corona—the glowing hot gases that surround the Sun—produces this halo.

The Moon is not always the same distance from Earth, because its orbit is not a perfect circle. Sometimes an eclipse happens while the Moon is farther away from Earth than usual. The faraway Moon looks small. It casts a smaller shadow on Earth that blocks out only the center of the Sun. This is called an annular eclipse.

Sometimes the Moon covers only part of the Sun. This is called a partial solar eclipse. The Moon’s disk slides across the bottom or top part of the Sun. It never covers the whole Sun. Partial solar eclipses are more common than total or annular solar eclipses.

It is very dangerous to look at the Sun, even during an eclipse. Looking at the bright light of the Sun can injure your eyes.

ECLIPSES OF THE MOON

Earth can cause a different kind of eclipse, called an eclipse of the Moon or a lunar eclipse. Lunar eclipses happen when Earth gets directly between the Sun and the Moon. Earth casts a shadow on the Moon. You can see Earth’s shadow moving across the Moon during a lunar eclipse.

There are two kinds of lunar eclipses. Sometimes Earth’s shadow covers the entire Moon. This is called a total lunar eclipse. Sometimes Earth’s shadow falls on only part of the Moon. This is called a partial lunar eclipse.

HOW OFTEN DO ECLIPSES HAPPEN?

Eclipses are quite common. During the 20th century, there were 228 solar eclipses. There were 147 lunar eclipses. However, you cannot see all eclipses from every place on Earth. You can only see an eclipse from a place on Earth that lines up just right with the Moon and the Sun. Wherever you live, there may only be one eclipse every few years.

Astronomers are scientists who study things in space. They know exactly when and where there will be an eclipse. They use math to figure out when eclipses will happen.

Are you a Sudoku lover?

Brain Fitness Sudoku Series

Check out my Sudoku Puzzles book series.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Want more like this post?

Aztec Empire | Short Reads

Aztec Empire | Short Reads

Hundreds of years ago, a towering temple stood at the center of what is now Mexico City. This Great Temple was a symbol of the power of the Aztec Empire—an empire that stretched across much of Mexico.

Penguins | Short Reads

Penguins | Short Reads

Would you put on your bathing suit and jump into icy water? Would you slide down a snowy hill on your bare stomach? Imagine how cold that would feel! You would freeze. Penguins, however, do this all the time. Penguins swim in cold water. They slide on their bellies over ice and snow.

Bicycles | Short Reads

Bicycles | Short Reads

Riding a bicycle is a great way to get around. Bicycles are quiet, fun to ride, and you don’t need gas or electricity to make them go. You just use the power of your legs!
Bicycles have two wheels. One wheel is in front of the other. You swing your leg over the bike, sit down, and start pedaling.

Mississippi River | Short Reads

Mississippi River | Short Reads

The Mississippi River is the most important river in North America. It provided a major highway for early explorers of North America. Many cities grew up along it. Furs and farm goods traveled from these settlements down the river to markets. Today, more freight travels on the Mississippi than on any other waterway within the continent.

Geronimo | Short Reads

Geronimo | Short Reads

Geronimo was a leader of the Apache Indians. He belonged to an Apache group known as the Chiricahua. In the 1870s, the United States government tried to force the Chiricahua off their homelands and onto reservations. Geronimo fought back.

Plate Tectonics | Short Reads

Plate Tectonics | Short Reads

Stand very still. You may think you are not moving, but the ground may be moving ever so slightly under your feet. The ground you are standing on is part of Earth’s crust. The crust is the solid surface or outer, rocky layer of Earth. Pieces of Earth’s crust are always slowly slipping and sliding around. The idea that pieces of Earth’s crust move is called the theory of plate tectonics.

Orchestra | Short Reads

Orchestra | Short Reads

The sound of an orchestra playing is a thrilling experience. An orchestra is a group of musicians who play musical instruments. Some orchestras have more than 100 musicians. Yet when they play together, the orchestra sounds like one mighty musical instrument.

Gravity | Short Reads

Gravity | Short Reads

Try to jump as high as you can. Bend your knees. Now jump! No matter how hard you try, or how high you jump, you always come back down again.
Something called gravity pulls you back down. Gravity holds you down on Earth. Without gravity, you would fly off into space. You would jump up and just keep on going. That might sound like fun, but you could not live very high up. For one thing, you need to breathe air. The higher you go, the less air there is. You need gravity to keep you down on Earth.

Sheep | Short Reads

Sheep | Short Reads

Remember Mary’s little lamb? It followed her everywhere. Lambs follow their mothers. If a newborn lamb loses its mother, it will form a bond with a human being who adopts it. Just like Mary’s lamb, it will try to tag after its human parent. Lambs are baby sheep.

Socrates | Short Reads

Socrates | Short Reads

What is love? What is truth? What is justice? Socrates, a philosopher in ancient Greece, asked big questions like these and tried to make people think.
Socrates was born in Athens, Greece, in 469 bc. He devoted his life to philosophy. He taught students, made speeches, and debated with anyone who would listen to him.

English Plus Bites

Are You Hungry?


Daily English Plus Bites are just a couple of clicks away...

Sign up and start receiving daily short learning emails which include idioms, reading, word power, common mistakes, grammar and more.


Unlock a world of learning delivered daily to your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest