The following stages describe what one can see during an eclipse. The initial stages of a total and partial eclipse are described below:
In the first stage of solar eclipse, the Moon’s disc touches the Sun. This is called First Contact. During this stage, the Moon starts taking a “bite” of the Sun and with the progress of the eclipse the “bite” becomes larger and larger.
The Sun is gradually covered by the Moon as the moment of totality approaches, and narrow bands of shadow and light moving across the ground can be seen. As the Moon moves closer the shadow of the Moon is seen rushing from the west.
The remaining part of the Sun gradually Path of Solar Eclipse 2009 breaks into slices and separate points of light called Baily’s Beads are formed. It is named after British astronomer Francis Baily, one of the founders of the Royal Astronomical Society.
When only one point of light is left one Path of Solar Eclipse 2009 can observe a beautiful diamond ring effect with the last point of light being held on the Moon s outline. Second Contact takes place when the last ray of light vanishes and the Moon touches the farther limb of the Sun.
During totality, the sky becomes dark, not as dark as night maybe, but enough to confuse the birds to go home, flowers to close for night, and bees to stop flying. The shadow of the moon covers the entire disc of the sun and only the corona becomes visible.
Totality ends at Third Contact, when the Moon begins to uncover the Sun. Once again, a diamond ring, Baily s Beads, and shadow bands may be seen.
The Moon gradually uncovers the Sun and normal daylight returns. The shadow on the Sun reduces until it vanishes altogether. This moment is known as the Fourth Contact.