An eclipse is an astronomical event. It is when one object in the sky moves into the shadow of another such object. When an eclipse happens within a system of stars, like the Solar System, it makes a type of syzygy. This means that three or more objects in the sky are lined up in a straight line in the same gravitational system.
The term eclipse is most often used to describe a solar eclipse, when the Moon's shadow crosses the Earth's surface, or a lunar eclipse, when the Moon moves into the shadow of Earth. No solar eclipse can last longer than 7 minutes and 58 seconds because of the speed at which the Earth and Moon move.
When the Sun is not involved, the event is called occultation.
- Staff (March 31, 1981). "Science Watch: A Really Big Syzygy" (Press release). The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
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