solar eclipse

This is when the Moon's shadow is cast onto the Earth. It will take place during the new moon, and is only visible from places lying in the path of the shadow. The time, duration and nature of the eclipse will vary with location.

A partial eclipse occurs when the Earth enters the lighter outer shadow of the Moon - the penumbra. Sometimes the dark central cone of the lunar shadow - the umbra - will cross the Earth's surface (an unlikely consequence of the relative dimensions of the Sun, Moon and Earth) and a total eclipse will be observed from that region.

Occasionally, when the Moon is near apogee (its furthest point from Earth), the umbra will fall short and a ring-shaped eclipse will be visible at the centre of the shadow. This is called an annular eclipse, from the latin word annulus meaning ring.

Inconstant Moon