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What are Solar Eclipses

Solar Eclipses
Solar Eclipses occur when the Sun is obscured by the Moon, an occasion when the Sun, the Moon and the Earth are in near alignment, and the Earth moves into the Moon's umbra or penumbra.
There are three kinds of Solar Eclipses, namely Total Solar Eclipses, Partial Solar eclipses and Annular Solar Eclipses.
Since the Moon's orbit around the Earth is not in the same plane as the Earth's orbit around the Sun, eclipses do not occur every month. However, contrary to popular belief, solar eclipses are not at all rare. In any one calendar year, there are at least two Solar Eclipses. In some years, notably the year 2011, there are as many as four. As the path of totality is very narrow, people in a certain region can only observe, on average, a Partial Solar Eclipse every two to three years, while the chance of observing a truly remarkable Total Solar Eclipse is extremely remote. No Total Solar Eclipses will be visible from Hong Kong in the coming century.

For more detail, you can go to Teacher's Corner "Nature of the Universe Chapter 7 ─ The Moon and Eclipses".

Forthcoming solar eclipses from 2015 to 2020:

Date (HKT) Type Area of Visibility Hong Kong


Total Southeast Asia, Australia, Pacific partial


Annular Africa, Indian Ocean not visible


Annular South America, Atlantic, Africa, Antarctica not visible


Total North America not visible


Partial Antarctica not visible


Partial Ocean at the South of Australia not visible


Partial North America, Arctic, North Asia not visible


Partial East Asia, North Pacific not visible


Total South Pacific, South America not visible


Annular Asia, Australia partial


Annular Africa, Asia partial


Total South Pacific, South America not visible