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Old 04-05-12
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Re: tips needed for taking photos of the full solar eclipse

it's all in the description

an annular eclipse occurs where the moon doesn't fully cover the sun, creating a very thin donut (annulus)
a total eclipse is where the moon fully covers the sun.

the one in '99 was a total eclipse.
the one we saw in spain in '05 was annular, with about 4% of the sun still showing (as was the '99 one from my location) which meant it got colder, a bit darker and affected wildlife - the silence was quite surreal.

why the difference in what the moon covers? simply down to orbital mechanics. the distance to the moon varies due to its orbit being elliptical and the fact it's inclined at about 5 deg to that of the earth. so when it is close to the earth, more of the sun gets covered. likewise, our orbit around the sun is also elliptical so the apparent size of the sun also changes depending on the orbital distance.
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