The solar eclipse occurs when the moon position itself between Earth and the sun, leading the moon to cast a shadow over the Earth’s surface. A solar eclipse will only take place in the presence of the phase of new moon.
This happen when moon orbits the Earth at an angle of approximately 5 degrees, relative to the Earth-sun plane, resulting to the moon crossing the Earth’s orbital plane only twice a year. These times are called eclipse seasons, because they are the only times that increases the process that leads to the occurrence of an eclipses. For an eclipse to take place, the moon must be in the correct phase during an eclipse season; for a solar eclipse, it must be a new moon. When the moon passes directly between the sun and Earth and its shadows fall upon Earth’s surface.
It is believed that millions of years ago, the moon was much closer to the earth and, therefore, the moon appeared large in the sky. However, since its formation, the moon has gradually been moving away from Earth at the rate four centimetres per year.
This means that eventually the moon will keep moving much farther away from Earth and appear smaller respectively. For example, in its brief time, the moon is just in the right distance away so that it appears to be the same size as the sun. This is the phenomenon that provides human with the privilege to witness the beauty of solar eclipses.
The alignment has led to the production of four forms of solar eclipses like a total solar eclipse, a partial solar eclipse, an annular solar eclipse, and a hybrid solar eclipse as discussed below.
During a total solar eclipse, the moon casts its shadow upon the Earth’s surface, this means that the shadow can sweep a third of its way around the planet in just a few hours. Those individuals who are fortunate enough to be positioned in the direct path of the umbra will see the sun’s disk diminishing into a crescent as the moon’s dark shadow rushes toward them across the landscape.
Whereas when a partial solar eclipse occurs the penumbra or the partial shadow passes over the object. In this instance, a part of the sun always remains in view during the eclipse.
An annular eclipse, on the contrary forms the rarest and by far an amazing sight to witness, because in this case what is witnessed is far different from a total eclipse. The actual activity when observed will conform to scenes that involves the sky darkening combined with weird counterfeit twilight causing so much of the sun still showing. The annular eclipse is a subspecies of a partial eclipse and not total eclipse hence the maximum duration for an annular eclipse is 12 minutes 30 seconds.
The hybrid eclipse is also called annular-total eclipses. In this special type, an eclipse occurs when the moon’s distance is near its limit for the umbra to reach Earth. In most cases, an annular-total eclipse starts as an annular event because the tip of the umbra falls just short of contacting Earth; then it becomes total, because the roundness of the planet reaches up and intercepts the shadow tip near the middle of the path, then finally it returns to annular toward the end of the path.
Since the moon appears to pass directly in front of the sun, it triggers total, annular and hybrid eclipses to occur thus forming the basis upon which these eclipses are also called central eclipses to distinguish them from eclipses that are merely partial.You can also read more about history of thankgiving