GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER, CONCEPTUAL IMAGE LAB / NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER, CONCEPTUAL IMAGE LAB / NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Total solar eclipse, animation. A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon completely covers the face of the Sun, casting its shadow on Earth. That the Moon and Sun appear the same size in the sky is a coincidence - the Sun is 400 times wider than the Moon, but 400 times further away. Total eclipses do not occur at every New Moon as the Moon's orbit is tilted with respect to the Earth's orbit around the Sun. Hence they can only occur when there is a New Moon at the time the orbital planes intersect.
Model release not required. Property release not required.