Eclipses are one of the most striking celestial phenomena that exist. This is for a number of reasons, partly because of their own spectacular nature, partly because of how rare they are. In any case, it is a phenomenon that can sometimes be difficult to explain to children, since they do not quite understand in words what happens when a solar eclipse occurs and the consequences it has.
What is a solar eclipse
Although most adults may be clear about what a solar eclipse is , it is always advisable to remember it to consolidate concepts and avoid possible mistakes. The eclipse in which the Sun is hidden is called a solar eclipse . This occurs when the Moon is positioned between the Sun and the observation point from which the Sun is viewed on the Earth’s surface. This detail is important, since, as everyone knows, the Moon is considerably smaller than the Sun.
However, due to the closeness of the Moon and the Earth , and the distance of the Sun from our planet, this makes it possible that, when the Moon is aligned with the Sun and the observer’s point on Earth, it gives the feeling that the Sun is completely hidden behind the Moon. In reality, this occurs only in a specific region of the Earth’s surface, so although the appearance of a solar eclipse is the concealment (total or partial) of the Sun behind the Moon , in reality, it is an effect that is achieved thanks to the specific distances of each celestial body in relation to the others.
Without a doubt, the best way to explain to an elementary school child what a solar eclipse is is to do it with a practical and visual example. To do this, it is best to use models of the Moon and Earth (a globe would be the most advisable), as well as an intense light that is easy to direct to a specific point, such as the one provided by the lamp of the desk lamps. However, if you do not have this type of object at hand, you can always do it with any round object that can fulfill the function of the models, for example pieces of fruit or a soccer ball.
To explain it, it is important to place the “Earth” and the “Sun” static, while we rotate the model of the Moon around the model of the planet. In this way, we will place the Moon in such a way that it casts the shadow on the surface of the model of the Earth. Being a geographical model, it will be perfectly visible that the eclipse will only be seen in its entirety in some areas, those that will be in the shadow of the Moon, while the rest of the planet will not appreciate it. In this way, the child will be able to have a mental scheme of what really happens in a solar eclipse, which will facilitate understanding better than any explanation without tactile and visual examples.
One of the most common reasons why a child can be explained what a solar eclipse is is because, indeed, the situation occurs in which one of them will be seen. However, if we want to see a solar eclipse , in addition to the phenomenon occurring naturally and we are located in a geographical region from where it can be observed correctly, we must take into account a series of important safety factors.
You should never observe a solar eclipse directly . Even though the Moon is positioned between the Sun and the Earth, the sun’s rays are still too strong to be directly observed. If this is done, there is a very high risk that our eyes will be damaged by UVA rays. Therefore, to see a solar eclipse, you will always have to do with special glasses for it. In fact, not even the usual sunglasses are suitable to see this type of phenomenon, because they are designed to filter a certain amount of light and that, in general, indirectly affects our eyes, but not so that we place ourselves perpendicular to the light source.
Therefore, before observing a phenomenon as spectacular as a solar eclipse, we must remember that it is necessary to prepare with the appropriate equipment. Otherwise, it is best to simply avoid looking at it, since we could seriously endanger the health of our eyes.