This image shows a solar eclipse at the point of totality, when the moon completely blocks out the body of the sun, revealing the normally hidden, halo-like corona.

Photograph courtesy NASA/The Exploratorium
  • On August 11, 1999, the last total solar eclipse of the twentieth century occurred. Through a combination of technology and chance, this was the most widely viewed solar eclipse in history. It was witnessed by as many as 350 million people across parts of northern Europe, the Middle East and India. The eclipse's path covered a heavily populated area of the planet, and the weather cooperated to allow for prime viewing conditions. Modern forecasting tools were able to accurately pinpoint the areas where the total eclipse would be visible.

    A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly between Earth and the sun, causing the sky to go dark temporarily because of the moon's umbra, or shadow.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    accurately Adverb

    exactly or perfectly.

    solar eclipse Noun

    event when the sun is blocked by the moon passing between it and the Earth.

    technology Noun

    the science of using tools and complex machines to make human life easier or more profitable.

    umbra Noun

    moon's shadow that covers the sun during a solar eclipse.

    weather Noun

    state of the atmosphere, including temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, humidity, precipitation, and cloudiness.

    Encyclopedic Entry: weather