It’s an astronomical phenomenon that happens when the moon hides the Sun for a few minutes.

The Sun is a shining sphere of very hot gas, and its light shines on the side of our planet that’s facing it.

Fortunately, the Earth is spinning round so everyone benefits from the Sun. At the same time, the Earth goes right round the Sun in about a year.

And the moon also goes around the Earth.

To observe a solar eclipse, the Earth, the Moon and the Sun need to be aligned.

Why is this quite a rare phenomenon?

Because the moon and the Earth are not revolving on the same plane. The 3 bodies are only aligned about twice every year.

When that happens, the moon casts its shadow onto small areas of the Earth.

From Earth, we see the moon completely masking the Sun. That is what we call a total eclipse of the sun.

On the part of the Earth where there’s no sunshine, it’s like night-time during the day.

When the moon only covers part of the Sun, some sunlight still gets through. That’s why it’s still light.

This is what we call a partial eclipse; far more common.

So, when this phenomenon happens where you live, don’t forget to protect your eyes with special sunglasses and… enjoy the show!