Q:

Why are solar eclipses so rare?

A:

Solar eclipses are rare because even though the moon orbits the Earth once a month, it requires a very exact alignment between the Earth, sun and moon to create a solar eclipse. Even when the alignment occurs, the eclipse is limited to a small portion of Earth's surface.

Due to the orbital inclination of the moon, the conditions are right for a solar eclipse only a few times each year. In many cases, the eclipse is only partial, creating a penumbral shadow that partially obscures the sun's surface. A perfect alignment will create an umbral shadow that completely blocks the sun's disc, but the conditions may only be suitable for complete eclipse for a brief period as the moon travels across the sky.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    Why is totality during a solar eclipse not accomplished?

    A:

    According to CNN, a solar eclipse is only a total eclipse for those areas of the Earth directly beneath the moon's shadow. Since the moon is much smaller than the sun or the Earth, it may only completely block the sun's light over part of the Earth's surface. Anyone outside this full shadow may see a partial eclipse, but it will not achieve totality.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the name of the star in our solar system?

    A:

    The star that shares the solar system with the Earth is the Sun. It is the star around which all the planets in the system revolve. According to About.com, the Sun weighs almost 99.86 percent of the total mass in the solar system.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why do we have eclipses?

    A:

    According to NASA, solar eclipses occur when the moon blocks the view of the sun from Earth, and a lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth's shadow covers the surface of the moon. The perfect alignment necessary for a full eclipse is relatively rare, with partial eclipses happening much more frequently.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are solar flares?

    A:

    A solar flare is a sudden burst of energy erupting from the sun's corona. When the sun's magnetic field twists around sunspots, it can create a barrier that prevents energy from flowing outward. After enough energy builds up below the surface of the sun, it can burst out suddenly, sending a wave of energy out into the solar system.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore