Processing, please wait...
It was processed successfully!
It was processed successfully!
Login Create Free Account
Create Free Account

Total Eclipse Definition

A total eclipse occurs when Earth or the Moon blocks Sun's light fully. For example, during a solar eclipse, the Moon covers the Sun, casting shadow on Earth.

View Lesson on Solar & Lunar Eclipses
Grades 6-8 VideoSolar & Lunar Eclipses player orange
Preview Only
Oops! It looks like your security settings are blocking this video 🙁

If you are on a school computer or network, ask your tech person to whitelist these URLs:
*.wistia.com, fast.wistia.com, fast.wistia.net, embedwistia-a.akamaihd.net

Sometimes a simple refresh solves this issue. If you need further help, contact us.


Solar & Lunar Eclipses

Fun Facts

  • During a total solar eclipse, the Sun's corona becomes visible.
  • A total lunar eclipse can appear reddish, known as a Blood Moon.
  • If the Moon was smaller, it would not be able to cover the entire Sun during a total solar eclipse.

Why Do We Need To Know About Total Eclipse

Learning about total eclipses helps us understand space better and shows why they’re important for space scientists. Eclipses help find new planets far away when these planets pass in front of their stars, making them dim a bit, which we can see from Earth. This way, scientists have found more than 2000 planets, including some that might be like Earth, such as Kepler 62F.

Also, total eclipses let scientists study the sun’s outer layer and learn more about the sun and our atmosphere. Knowing when eclipses will happen has been useful for a long time and is still important in space science, showing how studying eclipses can lead to interesting jobs and discoveries.

Frequently Asked Questions

If the Sun is so much larger in size than the Moon, why do they appear to be the same size?
The Moon is about 400 times smaller than the Sun and about 400 times closer to Earth. Those proportions cause the Sun and the Moon to look about the same size.
Why was it important that Dr. Jeff use a large ball to represent the Sun, a marble to represent Earth, and a bead to represent the Moon in his model?
Although all models have limitations, Dr. Jeff was trying to accurately represent the size of each object in the Earth-Sun-Moon system relative to one another.
How would the Earth-Sun-Moon system change if the Moon’s orbital plane weren’t tilted 5°?
We would have an increase in the number eclipses we can see because of the orbit of the Moon around Earth.
Explore More Science Topics
We’ve sent you an email with instructions how to reset your password.
Choose Your Free Trial Period
3 Days

3 days to access to all of our teaching resources for free.

Continue to Lessons
30 Days

Get 30 days free by inviting other teachers to try it too.

Share with Teachers
Get 30 Days Free
By inviting 4 other teachers to try it too.
4 required

*only school emails accepted.

Skip, I will use a 3 day free trial

Thank You!

Enjoy your free 30 days trial