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Solar Eclipse 2019: What is Surya Grahan and its Different Types

Solar eclipses, which happen once every 18 months, last only for a few minutes, and should not be viewed directly as they might cause permanent eye damage.

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Updated:July 2, 2019, 11:48 AM IST
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Solar Eclipse 2019: What is Surya Grahan and its Different Types
Representative Image. (Reuters)

An eclipse or a Grahan takes place when one heavenly body, for example, a moon or planet moves into the shadow of another heavenly body. On Earth, we observe two types of eclipses: Solar Eclipse (an eclipse of the sun), also known as Surya Grahan or Lunar Eclipse (an eclipse of the moon), also known as Chandra Grahan. When the moon comes between the orbit Earth and the Sun, it blocks the light of the sun from reaching Earth, thus causing an eclipse of the Sun, or solar eclipse. During a solar eclipse, the moon casts a shadow onto Earth.

There are three types of solar eclipses: A total solar eclipse, a partial solar eclipse and an annular solar eclipse. When the solar eclipse is only visible from a small area on Earth, it is known as total solar eclipse. For a total eclipse to take place, the sun, moon and Earth must be in a direct line.

When the sun, moon and Earth are not exactly lined up, with the sun appearing to have a dark shadow on only a small part of its surface, it is known as a partial solar eclipse. When the moon is farthest from Earth, it results in an annular solar eclipse. While the moon does not block the entire view of the sun, in this case, it looks like a dark disk on top of a larger sun-coloured disk in front of the sun. This creates what looks like a ring around the moon.

Solar eclipses happen once every 18 months. Unlike lunar eclipses, solar eclipses only last for a few minutes. It is always advised not to look at a solar eclipse directly as it can permanently damage your eyes.

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