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    Solar Eclipses: An Observer's Guide (Infographic)

    By by Karl Tate
    May 18, 2012, 5:11:48 AM EDT

    Find out what happens when the moon crosses in front of the sun in this SPACE.com infographic.

    Source SPACE.com: All about our solar system, outer space and exploration

    Solar eclipses are one of the cosmic wonders of our solar system. They occur when the new moon blocks part or all of the sun as seen from the surface of the Earth. Check out the SPACE.com Infographic above to see how solar eclipses work.

    When the moon passes in front of sun, as viewed from Earth, the eclipse that occurs is visible from a narrow path on Earth that corresponds to the location of the moon's shadow. During a total solar eclipse, this path is known as the path of totality. WARNING: Never look directly at the sun during an eclipse with a telescope or your unaided eye. Severe eye damage can result and scientists use special filters to safely view the sun.

    There are several other types of solar eclipses.

    In addition to total eclipses of the sun, the moon can block part of the sun's disk (a partial solar eclipse), or leave only an outer ring of the sun visible in a so-called annular solar eclipse. A hybrid solar eclipse occurs when the tip of the moon's shadow lifts off the surface of the Earth at some point, allowing some observers to see a total eclipse while others witness an annular eclipse.

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