The solar eclipse is one of those events of nature that has managed to fascinate both children and adults. Whenever there is news about a chance to view the solar eclipse, people, irrespective of whether they are adults or children, everyone rushes out to view it.
While as adults, we get to learn and know many things about the same, it continues to be something of a mystery to children. Hence, we got together some of the most surprising solar eclipse facts for kids that will leave them in awe.
11 Interesting & Fun Facts about Solar Eclipse for Kids
As a kid, I was always eager to experience a full solar eclipse. That wish is yet to be fulfilled. But I did hear a lot of stories from my parents about how they had experienced the same and that story still fascinates me.
As a kid, it also gave rise to multiple questions in my mind- what is a solar eclipse? Why does it happen? What is its significance?
With this article, I hope a lot of the young curious minds will get to know something about this amazing phenomenon of nature. So let us dive right in!
1. The weather during a full solar eclipse changes
Although a solar eclipse occurs for no more than a few minutes, the temperature can drop significantly. Not just the temperature, the weather too, changes. It has been noticed that it gets cloudier and windier shortly before the eclipse begins. It almost looks as if the sky is changing from dawn to dusk.
2. Although the sun is 400 times larger than the moon, it still gets covered
A solar eclipse takes place when the moon, while revolving the earth comes between the sun and the earth, in a line, thus covering the sun. However, the moon is much smaller than the sun. How does it manage to cover the massive sun?
Well, you can experiment with that yourself. Stand in a candlelit room and face the wall. You will see as you move closer to the wall, your shadow becomes smaller but as you move away, your shadow becomes bigger and bigger! A similar thing happens during the solar eclipse. The moon is closer to the earth than the sun and hence, it covers the entire sun.
3. It is possible to look into the future during a solar eclipse
Now, this is one of the most interesting solar eclipse facts for kids and even for adults. It is possible to see the future for a few seconds during a solar eclipse. During a full solar eclipse, one can see the constellations and stars.
However, these won’t be the usual constellations but the ones that will be seen in several months! It was proved when the August 21st constellation corresponded with that of February 2018!
4. There is a chance that solar eclipses will stop occurring sometime in future
Although they are quite a fascinating event, solar eclipses will stop occurring in the future. This is because the moon is slowly distancing itself from the earth little-by-little every year.
So, sometime in the future, the distance between the earth and the moon will be too long and it won’t be able to cover up the sun anymore. Solar eclipses will become somewhat of a cosmic myth then.
5. The ancient humans were scared of solar eclipses
With the help of science and technology, we have learned a lot about the solar eclipses and why and how it occurs. However, that was not the case for ancient human beings. They were unaware of how a solar eclipse takes place and its occurrence was something unusual for them.
People in ancient Greece believed that eclipses were the wrath of Gods while people in China thought that a massive dragon was eating the sun. Solar eclipses were also thought to bring bad omens.
6. Animals become very confused during a total solar eclipse
Like ancient humans, animals lack the knowledge of solar eclipses and the reasoning behind the same. Hence, you will find animals and birds in confusion during a total solar eclipse. Birds will start flying back to their nests and other animals will prepare to sleep.
7. Every year, there is a minimum of 2 solar eclipses somewhere on earth
While we only get to see and experience solar eclipses once or twice in our lifetime, every year there are at least 2 and a maximum of 5 solar eclipses occurring someplace on the earth. These can be partial or total solar eclipses but they do occur every year. List of solar eclipses in the 21st century
8. The sun will look like a diamond ring or ring of fire during a total solar eclipse
This is what everyone wants to see while experiencing an annular solar eclipse; the Ring of Fire or Diamond Ring. This is when the moon totally covers the sun and only the outline of the sun can be seen; thus, making it look like a ring of fire.
The diamond ring effect starts after the ring of fire. This is when the moon slowly starts moving away and the sun rays burst out from one side making it look like a diamond ring. It is a beautiful sight to see.
9. The first recorded eclipse was in Bronze City of Ugarit
While solar eclipses have been occurring before this, the one that fell across the Bronze City of Ugarit in 1223 BCE is the earliest recording of a solar eclipse. It occurred on the 5th of March and it took the archaeologists 20 years to understand the inscription.
10. One can see other planets during a total solar eclipse
One of the fascinating things about a total solar eclipse is that you can see things in the sky which are otherwise not seen. If you are really lucky, you might even spot the other planets of our Solar System. Venus and Mars can normally be seen. However, during a total solar eclipse, you might be able to see Mercury and Jupiter as well!
11. Total solar eclipses are extremely rare
Even though they occur every year, total solar eclipses are extremely rare. A total solar eclipse is when the moon completely covers the sun. This depends on various factors and hence it is really rare to see a total solar eclipse. However, partial solar eclipses occur every year.
Types of Solar Eclipses
There are 4 types of solar eclipses that can occur-
1. Total Solar Eclipse
A total solar eclipse takes place when the sun is completely covered by the moon’s shadow. It is visible only from a specific point on earth. This is because the moon is considerably smaller than the sun and hence, its shadow will pass through a narrow point on earth. People who will be there and around that point will experience a total solar eclipse.
2. Partial Solar Eclipse
Partial solar eclipses occur when the moon does not cover the sun completely. Only a portion of the sun is obscured by the moon.
3. Annular Solar Eclipse
An annular solar eclipse is when the moon covers the sun completely but still the rays of the sun manage to seep out from all sides giving the ‘Ring of Fire’ effect. This happens because the moon is closer to the earth.
4. Hybrid Solar Eclipse
As the name suggests, a hybrid solar eclipse is when a total solar eclipse takes place and then as the moon starts to move, it changes into the annular solar eclipse giving the ‘Ring of Fire’ effect.
Dangers of Solar Eclipses
While solar eclipses are a beautiful sight to see, they can be very harmful to the eyes if someone was to look at them without proper cover.
The sun’s rays are much more powerful than our eyes are accustomed to handling and it can cause serious damages to the eye. The UVA rays can damage the retina which might lead to blindness.
How to View a Solar Eclipse Safely?
Solar eclipses can be incredibly dangerous for the eyes if looked at directly. Hence, one should always take protection while looking at it. Eclipse glasses, solar viewers or special-purpose solar filters should be used to view the same.
Best Solar Eclipse Glasses for Kids
All the 3 glasses mentioned here are CE & ISO Certified that means you can safely view the Solar Eclipse using these glasses
- Lunt Solar Systems Solar Eclipse Glasses
- Rainbow Symphony Eclipse Glasses
- Soluna Solar Eclipse Glasses
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Who discovered the solar eclipse?
The first-ever recording of a solar eclipse took place on 5th March 1223 BCE in the Bronze City of Ugarit. We do not have a name of the person who recorded it first. Also, there have been numerous other solar eclipses before this one. But they were not recorded.
Q. What causes a solar eclipse?
The solar eclipse is caused when the moon while revolving around the earth, comes in between the sun and the earth.
Q. How often do solar eclipses occur?
Solar eclipses occur every year in some place on the earth. Solar eclipses generally occurs at least 2 times and at most 5 times.
Q. Can you look at a solar eclipse for a second?
Looking at solar eclipses with the naked eye can be incredibly dangerous and can cause severe damage to the eye. Hence, it is advised not to look at them without protection.
Q. When does a partial solar eclipse occur?
Partial solar eclipses occur because the moon is unable to cover the entire sun and hence, only a portion of the sun is observed.
Q. Is it dangerous to go out during solar eclipses?
No, it is not dangerous to go out during a solar eclipse. But it is dangerous to look at it without protection.
As pointed out in the article, solar eclipses will not be a phenomenon that will continue forever. It will eventually become a mystical memory that people will only hear about. However, for the people inhabiting the earth for the next few thousand years, it will remain a fascinating experience.
That is the end of the article ’11 Surprising Solar Eclipse Facts for Kids.’ Hopefully, your little one learned something and was amazed by it.