How far apart are the Sun, Moon and Earth during eclipses?

Or as Bonnie Tyler would ask "...a total eclipse, how apart?"

22nd July 2009
How far apart are the Sun, Moon and Earth during eclipses? © Getty

Asked by: Ashley Martin, Chawton

It depends on the type of eclipse. During a total eclipse of the Sun, the Moon covers the whole solar disc, and to do this the Sun has to be around 400 times further from the Moon than the Moon is from the Earth. If the ratio is smaller, the Moon no longer completely covers the solar disc, and so produces an annular eclipse, which features a ring of light around the Sun.

 


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