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Demonstrate how a total solar eclipse works

Suitable For

Grade 8



Time Required

 <2 Days



What’s it about?

Solar eclipses have been recorded as important events by humans for a very long time. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes in a direct line between the Earth and the sun. The moon’s shadow travels over the Earth’s surface and blocks out the sun’s light as seen from that specific region on the Earth.

A total solar eclipse, also called totality, occurs when a shadow, called an ‘Umbra’, falls on a region of the earth. People near it, in the ‘Penumbra’, see only a partial solar eclipse in which not all of the sun is blotted out. Demonstrate this principle with the following science experiment:

Topics covered

Eclipse, Totality, Umbra / Penumbra

What will I need?


Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

In this science experiment you created a small scale model of a full solar eclipse. If you were in a region on earth where the umbra falls, you would experience a total solar eclipse. If you were in a region on the earth where the penumbra falls, you would only experience a partial eclipse. During a real solar eclipse, the view of the moon from the earth will often appear to be a mix of red, brown and orange, and does not actually turn completely dark due to some light getting refracted toward it by the Earth.

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