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How do eclipses work?

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Solar eclipses occur when the new moon passes between Earth and the sun and the moon casts a traveling shadow on Earth. A total solar eclipse occurs when the new moon is in the right position to exactly cover the sun's disk. This will happen next month when the new moon will completely block our view of the sun along a narrow path from Oregon to South Carolina. During August's total solar eclipse, it may be dark enough to see some of the brighter stars and a few planets! Two weeks before or after a solar eclipse there's often, but not always, a lunar eclipse. But it's not necessarily a total lunar eclipse. This will happen because the moon will be at opposition. The full moon and Earth and the sun will be lined up with Earth in the middle. Credit: NASA
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