A Solar Eclipse happens when the Moon moves in front of the Sun. The Moon blocks out the light and the heat from the Sun. Usually the birds stop tweeting as well which is a strange thing about solar eclipses.
I first experienced the cooling effects of a solar eclipse when we lived in a town called Phalaborwa in the province of Limpopo in South Africa. This place name means The Town of Two Summers as the temperature is hot in winter and hot in summer.
It is situated right on the Tropic of Capricorn and experiences relentless dry heat all the time. It is a mining town and copper is the reason the settlement is there at all.
In Phalaborwa any tree is a good tree because it is a shade tree. In the three years we lived there is rained three times for ten minutes each time. Dry, dry, dry.
It was about 2pm and a hot afternoon. I was ready for the solar eclipse and had the special eclipse glasses for all the kids as we sat in the garden sipping lemonade. Looking up into the clear blue sky we watched the Moon slowly creep over the face of the Sun.
But, that’s when I noticed the drop in temperature and the chill of the eclipse. Bearing in mind that temperatures were normally 40C at midday, suddenly it became cool and dark. Not fully night as it was a partial solar eclipse, but still enough to reduce the light to dusky levels.
Cold and gloomy the kids ran inside and were excited and anxious at the same time.
Within five minutes the Moon had moved over the disk of the Sun and again the bright light and heat came flooding back to the afternoon. And almost as sudden it felt as it had never happened.
Such is the nature of a Solar eclipse.
If you get a chance to experience a solar eclipse, like the one happening this week, pay attention to all your senses and not just sight and you will have a richer experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
This is the First Eclipse Season of 2014
We are now in the midst of the first eclipse season for 2014. You will have seen the lunar eclipse two weeks ago you can see the annular solar eclipse if you live on the Moon’s shadow path as it sweeps across the face of the Earth.
Annular Solar eclipse (A)
At the annular solar eclipse you can see a ring of fire around the Moon as the Sun shows around the edge of the Moon. This happens frequently in January and the early part of the year when the Earth is nearer to the Sun at perihelion.
Annular Non-central Solar Eclipse (A-non-C)
A rare annular eclipse but where the central line does not touch the surface of the Earth. This one is on April 29, 2014 and then the next one is on October 3, 2043 which is in twenty-nine years time so you can see this is indeed a rare occurrence.
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