The sun is one of those things that you can always count on being there.
Well … at least during the daytime.
Usually, whenever we look up into the sky during the day, we can see the sun shining
down on us, giving our planet heat and light.
But sometimes you can also see the moon during the day.
The moon moves around the Earth, making a full trip all the way around our planet, once
And during some of that month-long trip, you can see the moon only at night.
But at other times, you can see it during the day.
And every now and then, when you can see both the moon and the sun in the sky during the
day, cool things can happen.
And this week is one of those times. Because our planet is going to experience a solar
A solar eclipse happens when the moon gets right smack-dab between the sun and the Earth.
When the moon does this, it blocks some of the sun’s light, and casts a gigantic shadow
on the Earth.
It doesn’t last for very long — just a few minutes, really — but when the moon blocks
the light from the Sun, it can make the sky appear as dark as night — even though it’s
still day time!
Now, not all eclipses are the same. They can look different, depending where on Earth you
are, and where the moon’s shadow is.
A total solar eclipse is when, from where you’re watching, the moon completely covers
the sun in the sky.
And there are also the partial solar eclipses, when the moon passes over just a little bit
of the sun.
When this kind of eclipse happens, the sun looks like a little chunk is missing — like
a cookie with a big bite taken out of it!
Now, it’s not very often that sun, moon and the Earth line up in just the right way
to create a solar eclipse.
But the next one is going to happen on March 20!
Not everyone in the world is going to be able to see it — only people who happen to be
in the path of the gigantic moon shadow.
So where I live, in the United States, we won’t be able to see the solar eclipse.
But people in Europe — especially in the northern parts — will get the best view.
Those folks will get to see the total eclipse. Right around breakfast time, they’ll have
a few minutes of darkness, almost as dark as night.
People in the rest of Europe, and also parts of Asia and Africa, will see a partial solar
eclipse. For them, it will look like a little bite has been taken out of the sun.
And as the minutes pass, that bite will get smaller and smaller until the sun is back
to its old self again.
Now it’s important to remember, you should never try to look directly at an eclipse,
because the rays from the sun can really damage your eyes, even when it’s partially covered
So the next time you go outside during the day, see if you can find the moon. What does
it look like? We’ll be keeping an eye out for it too here at SciShow Kids.