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Baily's beads during a total solar eclipse. The irregular landscape of the Moon means that its edge isn't perfectly smooth as it passes in front of the sun. It looks as if there are beads of bright sunlight coming through valleys and between mountains. They're named in honor of British astronomer Francis Baily who wrote an extensive account of them. ©Mona Evans, “Solar Eclipses”

Diamond ring effect. The Moon's surface isn't smooth and just before totality in an eclipse the last bit of sunlight shines through the lunar valleys. ©Mona Evans, “Solar Eclipses”

Solar Eclipses: An Observer's Guide (Infographic) - When the moon covers up the sun, skywatchers delight in the opportunity to see a rare spectacle. Mona Evans, “Solar Eclipses”

Total eclipse, Australia November 2012. The clouds have parted long enough to see the solar corona at the time of totality. (SLOOH SpaceCamera - Live Event) ©Mona Evans, “Solar Eclipses”

If you were on the Moon during a total lunar eclipse, you'd see a total solar eclipse. It might look something like this, with the Earth's nightside faintly shining. (Credit: Hana Gartstein) Mona Evans, "Lunar Eclipses"

Solar eclipse, Cairns, Australia (SLOOH SpaceCamera - Live Event) Start of total eclipse November 2012, the skies are partly cloudy. ©Mona Evans, “Solar Eclipses”

On the way to totaltity. (SLOOH SpaceCamera - Live Event) November 2012, total solar eclipse in northern Australia. ©Mona Evans, “Solar Eclipses”

'Ring of Fire' Solar Eclipse. This photo of an annular solar eclipse was taken on May 20, 2012 in Roswell, NM, USA. The Moon's orbit isn't exactly circular and the Moon seems smaller when it's more distant. This means it doesn't quite cover the Sun during an eclipse. (Credit: Joel Dykstra) Mona Evans, “Solar Eclipses”

Geometry of a solar eclipse. Since the Moon is small compared to Earth its shadow is narrow. Any place where the darker part of the shadow (the umbra) falls would have a total eclipse, but within the outer part of the shadow (the penumbra) the eclipse is only partial. Mona Evans, "Solar Eclipses"

Phases of the Moon. A solar eclipse can only occur at the new Moon because that's the only time that Sun, Moon and Earth could line up with the Moon blocking the Sun from our view. ©Mona Evans, “Solar Eclipses”

Lunar Eclipse infographic. (Credit: Karl Tate) Mona Evans, “Lunar Eclipses”

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Solar eclipse, as seen from Earth’s orbit

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What if the other planets were as close as the moon

Cómo se verían los planetas desde la Tierra si estarían separados por la misma distancia que de la Luna.