Getting to Know the Solar Eclipse: Definition, Process and Types

Eclipse is one of the natural phenomena that is quite interesting, because this phenomenon involves celestial bodies in the solar system. The term eclipse itself is a description of the process of the movement of a celestial body into a shadow of another celestial body making it closed.
The celestial objects that cover each other are the sun and the moon, so they are called solar eclipses and lunar eclipses. However, that does not mean that there are no other celestial bodies that cover each other. However, all that can be seen by our satellites are only solar and lunar eclipses. So it does not rule out the possibility that an eclipse will occur on another planet or in another solar system.

The composition of our solar system consists of the sun, planets, asteroid belt and Kuiper belt which are neatly lined up with each planet’s natural satellites. The rest are celestial bodies in the form of moons, asteroids, comets and other celestial bodies scattered throughout outer space. The entire series of planets and other celestial bodies permanently move around the sun, while the sun rotates on its axis for 25 days.

The earth rotates for 24 hours and revolves around the sun for 365 ¼ days or one year. The path of the earth to evolve is also known as orbit. The earth not only revolves around the sun, but is also surrounded by other objects. This celestial body is the moon that revolves around the earth for 27 ½ days.

Because the moon surrounds the earth which is also rotating, causing the moon to take a long time to return to its initial position. This situation sometimes also causes the moon to be in the same parallel with the earth. This phenomenon is called the Eclipse.


Definition of a solar eclipse

A solar eclipse is a situation where the moon is in the middle of the sun and the earth, causing the sun’s rays to reach the earth to be blocked. This occurs when the moon is dead, its cone-shaped shadow covers the earth’s surface and causes the side of the earth that is covered in the moon’s shadow to become dark or eclipse. That is the reason why when an eclipse occurs, the earth becomes dark like at night.

The moon also has several types of shadows called umbra and penumbra. Umbra is the name for the darkest point that forms a cone with its tip towards the earth. While the penumbra is a faint area that is slightly brighter and the shape is getting farther and wider. Surfaces in the umbra will experience a total solar eclipse. Meanwhile, areas that are at the penumbra point will experience a partial solar eclipse.

Why can the size of the moon cover the sun even though the size of the sun is much bigger? The reason is because the moon is much closer to the earth than the sun is to the earth. The moon has an average distance of 384,400 km from the earth, while the distance between the sun and the earth is around 149,680,000 km. This factor is the reason the moon can block sunlight because the moon looks the same size as the sun when viewed from the earth.


Books Related to Solar Eclipses

Solar Eclipse Magic

The solar eclipse is a common natural phenomenon, but its charm never goes away. What is the difference between a total solar eclipse, annular solar eclipse and a partial solar eclipse? How did this phenomenon occur? How to record natural phenomena through the camera lens perfectly?

Did we know that when the total solar eclipse on June 11, 1983 passed through the archipelago, government officials were mistaken in forbidding residents from seeing it directly? As a result, many residents locked themselves in their homes, closing the windows and doors tightly. What are the myths that develop in human culture about eclipses? Find all the answers in this book, which summarizes various Kompas daily articles about eclipses.


Twin Eclipses (New Cover)

Lendy, a book editor who works for a publishing company, is shocked when she accidentally finds old manuscripts and bits of letters in her grandmother’s wardrobe. Her own grandmother was dying in the hospital due to her cancer.

As if entering a world that used to be tightly locked, Lendy is immersed in the story in the script. The deeper he read, the more Lendy was convinced that the story was a true story. The story that his grandmother desperately hid. The story that revolves around her grandmother’s past and becomes the history of her presence in the world. With this story, Lendy retraced his life and relationship with his mother: trying to be honest with himself, have the courage to forgive, and make peace with the past.

The Process of a Solar Eclipse

The moon takes 29.5 days to revolve around the earth. So that every 29.5 days the moon returns to its initial position, namely the sun, moon and earth are aligned. However, not always in a straight line. This is because the moon’s orbit is tilted 5 degrees with the earth’s orbit.

So that when the sun, moon and earth are aligned, the moon will tend to be higher or slightly lower than the line between the sun and earth. This is why not every 29.5 days (1 month) there is a solar eclipse. During a solar eclipse, the moon casts three different kinds of shadows. These shadows are called umbra, penumbra and antumbra.

The umbra is the central shadow that forms a cone with the tip towards the earth. An image in which the moon’s disk appears larger than the sun’s disk. This disk of the moon will appear larger and cover the entire disk of the sun so that no light will appear on earth. If the umbra shadow reaches the earth then this phenomenon will be called a total solar eclipse.

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The antumbra is a conical extension of the umbra with the tip pointing away from the earth. At this position the disk of the moon appears much smaller than the disk of the sun, so that some of the sun’s light still escapes to earth. The light that escapes will form a circle or ring on the outside of the antumbra. If this antumbra shadow reaches the earth, this condition is called an annular solar eclipse.

The penumbra is the apparent shadow around the umbra and umbra. This shadow is getting closer to the earth and getting wider. Sunlight will be partially visible at this point. The penumbral shadow that reaches the Earth’s surface is called a partial solar eclipse.

The tilt of the moon’s orbit will affect whether the moon’s shadow will reach the earth’s surface or not. The moon revolves around the earth in an orbit that is elliptical rather than circular. It’s the same with the earth’s orbit around the sun.

So that there are certain times that are the closest and farthest distance between the moon and the earth, and the earth with the sun. This variation in distance will determine the shape of the moon and sun disks reaching the earth’s surface or not.

The closest distance from the moon to Earth is 356,395 kilometers and the farthest distance is 406,767 kilometers. The distance between the moon and the earth is not always the same, so the size of the moon disk that is visible on earth also varies. Meanwhile, the sun has the closest distance to the earth, which is 147,091,312 kilometers and the farthest distance is 152,109,813 kilometers which also makes the diameter of the sun’s disk not always the same.

When the earth is at a distance far from the sun but very close to the moon, that’s when the umbra will reach the earth’s surface which then forms the path of a solar eclipse. For those who are at that point will witness the phenomenon of a total solar eclipse. However, if the moon’s shadow falls on the earth when the moon is at its furthest distance from the earth, the shadow that reaches the earth’s surface is antumbra.

The umbral shadow moves from west to east on the earth’s surface, so does the earth which also rotates from west to east as fast as 28 km/minute at the equator. Meanwhile, the speed of the moon is 61 km/minute faster from west to east. The width of the moon’s shadow on the earth’s surface is also determined by the distance from the moon to the earth. The average width of the umbra at the Earth’s surface when it is closest is 267 kilometers.

Eclipse Duration

The time it takes for a solar eclipse to occur is determined by several factors. The distance between the moon and the earth is at the closest distance so that the disk of the moon appears larger. Meanwhile, the distance between the sun and the earth is in the farthest position so that the disk of the sun looks smaller.
The center point of the eclipse occurs near the equator so that the speed of the earth’s rotation is faster than the rotation of the moon. The path of the eclipse’s shadow is perpendicular to the east in the direction of the earth’s rotation. In general, under these conditions a solar eclipse can last at least 7 minutes 40 seconds.

The phenomenon of this solar eclipse is something interesting because it rarely happens. The solar eclipse that has occurred in recent years, namely on July 22, 2009, saw a total solar eclipse (GMT) which appeared around India, Bangladesh, China and Nepal with a duration of 6 minutes 39 seconds.
Not long ago there was also a solar eclipse on June 10, 2021 which was visible in Canada, Greenland and Russia. The eclipse is an annular solar eclipse that lasts for 3 minutes. Those in the Greenland region will be able to witness the full Ring of Fire solar eclipse. Sinaumed’s can also find a more complete explanation of this natural phenomenon in the book Bippo and Friends: Solar Eclipse which is told through various illustrations to make it more interesting!

Types of Solar Eclipses

We know that the orbit distance of the moon to the earth and the earth to the sun can affect the size of the disks of the sun and moon. Where this will affect which shadow will reach the surface of the earth, whether the umbra or antumbra. This condition will eventually affect the type of solar eclipse that will be seen on earth. Based on this possibility, solar eclipses are divided into 4 types of eclipses.

  1.     Total Solar Eclipse

As the name implies, a total solar eclipse is a condition in which the sun’s disk is completely covered by the lunar disk so that no sunlight can escape from the lunar disk. This phenomenon occurs because the sun, moon and earth are in a straight line with the distance from the moon to the earth being closer than the distance from the sun to the earth. As if the disk of the moon looks bigger so it can cover the sun.

  1.     Ring Solar Eclipse

  1.     Hybrid Solar Eclipse

This hybrid solar eclipse is a movement from a total solar eclipse and an annular solar eclipse. This condition is caused by differences in the area of ​​the earth’s surface. in certain areas this eclipse appears as an annular solar eclipse and in certain locations as a total solar eclipse.

  1.     Partial solar eclipse

When at the peak of the lunar disk eclipse it can only cover half or part of the sun’s disk, this situation is called a partial solar eclipse. Areas that experience a partial solar eclipse are areas that are passed by the penumbra shadow path. On this path, the moon’s shadow is not too dark so that the sun’s rays can still penetrate a little.

Here are recommendations for novels with interesting stories related to eclipses

Impact of an annular solar eclipse

An annular solar eclipse is an event when the moon’s position is right in the middle between the sun and the earth. This type of eclipse appears smaller than the size of the sun it should be. When an annular solar eclipse occurs, there are several effects and impacts.


1. There are tides and ebbs of sea water waves

When an annular solar eclipse occurs, it is usually followed by the ebb and flow of seawater conditions.

However, it cannot be predicted whether an annular solar eclipse will cause seawater to rise or vice versa to recede. This is because the characteristics of beaches around the world are different, thus the tidal and ebb conditions will also be different.

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2. There is a decrease in temperature evenly

An annular solar eclipse can also cause a temporary decrease in the temperature of the earth’s conditions. Even though an annular solar eclipse does not experience a drastic decrease in temperature like a total solar eclipse, in general, the temperature decrease will occur evenly.


3. Air humidity increases when the annular solar eclipse ends

After the annular solar eclipse ends, it will be followed by a higher humidity than usual. In addition, the temperature drop will also cause the wind speed to change.


4. Obstruction of Light

Even though an annular solar eclipse occurs during the day, the brightness of the earth will disappear for a while due to the eclipse. As a result, the earth will appear slightly darker. Then, slowly the light can go back in full.

5. Eye Damage

Never see a solar eclipse with the naked eye, OK? Use special tools or protective glasses to keep your eyes awake. If you see a solar eclipse directly without protective equipment, eye damage will be one of the effects.


The Myth of the Solar Eclipse

As Indonesians, we are used to living with mythological stories that were usually told by grandmothers or parents in ancient times. In Javanese society, there are also several mythological stories about this solar eclipse phenomenon.

1. Javanese Myth

In Java it is believed that this solar eclipse is an event where the sun is eaten by Batara Kala because he has a grudge against Batara Surya (the Sun God) and Batara Soma (the Moon God).
Batara Kala’s anger caused the world to lose its light. Then at that time it was believed that the people had to ring the mortar to produce sound so that Batara Kala spewed out the sun again. This was believed by the people in Java and became a story passed down from generation to generation.


2. Can Cause Blindness

Indonesia on June 11, 1983 had experienced a total solar eclipse which at that time was recorded as the longest duration ever in Indonesia. However, the people at that time still believed in this myth plus the government at that time required its citizens to enter their homes and there were no outside activities.

The government, which had formed the Solar Eclipse Committee at that time, explained the reason that a solar eclipse could cause blindness, so that people had to hide and close all doors, windows, vents to avoid an eclipse.

However, now people understand the phenomenon of this solar eclipse scientifically and understand the reasons why we cannot see a solar eclipse directly with the naked eye. Sunlight that comes from the sun’s corona when viewed directly is bad for eyesight because it contains UV radiation.

Sunlight that is seen directly and often can result in burning of the retina of the eye because it receives too much light. This is why workers outside the field such as farmers and fishermen are more susceptible to cataracts because they are exposed to sunlight for a long time.
During an eclipse, the radiation produced from the sun, even though it is dark, is very high. So that even if you see it for a short time it will damage your eyesight to the point of blindness. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t witness a solar eclipse.

To see a solar eclipse directly, you can use eclipse glasses that have been specially designed to ward off solar radiation. In addition, it is safer to observe the eclipse in an indirect way, for example by projecting the eclipse on a screen. In this digital era, there are already many TVs or channels that provide live streaming for eclipses.

3. Sun Eaten by Evil Creatures

In ancient times, people believed that there were evil creatures that ate the sun during a solar eclipse. Based on the myths circulating in society, in ancient times it was said that there was a shadow of a pair of wolves in the sky. The two wolves chased the sun, caught its light, and then there was an eclipse.

4. Extreme Weather Changes Occur

After the eclipse occurs, it is said that poisonous dew and mist will appear from the sky. This myth is widely believed by the people of Japan, Alaska, and America. In fact, a solar eclipse does not cause extreme weather changes.
After an eclipse occurs, usually the sky will be darker than usual, the temperature drops, and the wind direction changes. In general, there are no changes that harm Earth’s creatures.


5. Solar eclipses can poison food

It sounds strange, but in fact many people believe that a solar eclipse can turn food into poison. During the eclipse event, we are not allowed to eat and drink. In fact, the radiation emitted from a solar eclipse cannot change the compounds in food. In addition, the radiation level does not change during an eclipse.


6. Solar eclipses endanger the womb

It is said that pregnant women who see a solar eclipse will be in danger. The fetus they contain will be born deformed, blind, and may even die. Meanwhile, the condition of the mother is fine. Of course that’s not true.


7. The solar eclipse is a sign of death

Since centuries ago, many have believed that a solar eclipse is a sign of the death of a public figure. In fact, a solar eclipse is a natural event. There is no evidence that solar eclipses are the result of human influence or supernatural influences.


8. The solar eclipse is a sign of disaster

The sky that suddenly darkens during a solar eclipse is often seen as a harbinger of disaster. In fact, the disasters that occur after or before a solar eclipse are purely coincidental.


Know the Solar Eclipse

Natural phenomena such as solar eclipses are rare and major events that are of interest to many scientists in the world. Natural phenomena are always a new lesson for humans to be able to develop and better understand nature. Solar eclipses that occur several times in thousands of years have sparked new science and theories.

Some scientists link solar eclipses to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity which states that objects with a large mass can ‘bend’ light if the object is between the light source and the observer.

This theory then proved more of what Einstein had predicted. Another scientist, namely Arthur Eddington, proved the correctness of the theory of relativity by observing the difference in the distance of the stars in the constellation Taurus which are behind the sun during an eclipse and when there is no sun.

Solar eclipses as a natural phenomenon apart from providing breakthroughs for many scientists in their fields are also able to provide a lot of inspiration for writers and have their own enthusiasts. besides that at this time there are also many articles and books that often discuss solar eclipses. There are many interesting written references about eclipses that you can read from these inspirational books


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