BABAK TAFRESHI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BABAK TAFRESHI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sequence of views of the total solar eclipse of 29th March 2006, from Turkey. This total eclipse was visible from a thin path from Brazil through western and north Africa to Turkey, Russia and Mongolia. A total eclipse occurs when the Moon passes in front of the Sun, casting its shadow on the Earth. At totality the Sun's face is completely covered, and immediately before and after this there is often one small bright spot where the Sun shines through a lunar valley, which produces the so-called "diamond ring effect" seen here. It is a coincidence that the Moon and the Sun appear a similar size in the sky - the Sun is 400 times wider than the Moon, and 400 times further away.
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