Math in the Physical Sciences

Astronomy and Math

How does geometry work in terms of eclipses of the Sun and Moon?

Eclipses of the Sun (called a solar eclipse, when the Moon is between the Earth and the Sun) and the Moon (called a lunar eclipse, when the Earth is between the Moon and the Sun) are all a matter of angles. For example, in a solar eclipse, the shadow of the Moon follows a narrow path on the Earth, creating a shadow only in certain regions—not the entire planet (the Moon isn’t large enough to create a shadow that would cover the Earth). Depending on the angle and distance of the Moon from the Earth in its orbit, a solar eclipse can be an annular (the apparent size of the Moon is insufficient to cover the Sun completely, creating a ring of sunlight around the Moon); partial (the Moon only covers part of the Sun as seen from the Earth); or total (the Moon blocks out the entire face of the Sun in the eclipse path).

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Neptune is the only planet in our solar system that does not fit the model set by the Titius-Bode Law.



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