What you see above is an almost total solar eclipse. One of the easiest astrological phenomenons to observe due to its size in the sky is a solar or lunar eclipse. Now what is an eclipse exactly? Well it when either the moon aligns perfectly between the sun and earth in the case of a solar eclipse or when the earth aligns directly between the sun and the moon. We are going to talk about the former. In a total solar eclipse, the moon completely covers the sun so when you end up seeing is a picture like above where there is a dark circle, which is the moon, and the sun behind it shining it’s rays around the moon to give it that halo effect. The picture below exhibits a good overview of how they occur.
Now how often do these amazing sights happen? Well, unfortunately not that often. There are four types of eclipses, Total, annular, hybrid, and partial. Partial eclipses happen quite often actually, as this is when the moon only partially obstructs the suns light so you see the sun take on a crescent shape. The reason that they do not occur all that often is the moon is on a 5% incline compared to the plane of the earth and the sun and therefore, it does not always eclipse the sun. If it was on the same plane we would have a solar eclipse every month during the new moon! The other important thing to not is that an eclipse does occur about 2-5 times per year but the key fact is that they occur somewhere on earth and often never in the same place. The next time 5 solar eclipses happen in one year will be in 2206. Shockingly, the current estimate is that they only reoccur in the same spot every 360 to 410 years making them quite rare in a location. The next total solar eclipse that will occur in the US will be on Aug 21, 2017. So we have some time to prepare to see this phenomenon but you should definitely try to see it as it will be on for the history books as they occur so infrequently. I will certainly be trying to capture it in an amazing location to get a great picture like above!