Watching a solar eclipse. Solar eclipse viewers being used to observe a total solar eclipse. The protective viewing material is designed to block most of the light from the Sun. Observing the Sun without such protection can damage the eyes and cause blindness. Solar eclipses occur when the Moon passes across the Sun as seen from Earth. This only occurs at New Moon, and is most commonly a partial eclipse. Sometimes, usually less than once a year, a total solar eclipse takes place. This happens when the Moon passes directly in front of the Sun, and, for a few minutes, the corona, the Sun's atmosphere, becomes visible. Photographed on 21 June 2001, in Sumbe, Angola.
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