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What is Partial and Total Solar Eclipse? Effects on Solar Panels?

October 12, 2022

You must have seen the sun going dim and darker at least once or twice a year, which might leave you wondering what is going on in the sky. Well, that’s a solar eclipse, known as nature’s most spectacular event having great scientific importance. It can be either a partial or total solar eclipse.

Generally, solar eclipse refers to the phenomenon when the moon comes between the sun and the earth. As a result, the sun’s radiation gets blocked, and the temperature on earth decreases. You will also feel strong winds in open spaces when the sun hides behind the moon.

Solar-Eclipse

Solar eclipse 

The solar eclipse always happens during the new moon phase, as the alignment is greater during that time. However, this alignment also varies due to several reasons that cause different types of solar eclipses. Let’s delve into the details of what causes a solar eclipse, its historical background, and its effects on solar panels. In addition, we’ll also discuss that if it affects solar systems, is there any need to repair them?

Types of Solar Eclipses

There’re several different types of solar eclipses; let’s discuss the most prominent ones to give you an idea about what is a solar eclipse!

  • Total Solar Eclipse: This happens when the moon casts its complete shadow or umbra over the sun, blocking out all the sun’s radiation. The whole earth gets darkened for some time, and the weather is colder than usual.
  • Partial Solar Eclipse: The moon only casts a penumbra, also known as a half shadow, on the sun. Some areas of the earth get dark, while some stay bright with cloudy weather.

History of Solar Eclipses

The solar eclipses record of Babylonians and the Chinese show us that eclipses existed even 4000 years ago. Every culture or civilization had its myths associated with this natural phenomenon.

Historical Myths Associated with Solar Eclipses

People in ancient times considered an eclipse a sign of death or destruction, while others believed that eclipses were peacemakers. According to a Greek Historian, the Greeks thought of eclipses as a sign of peace because once a war between Lydians and Medes stopped during an eclipse in 585 BCE. In contrast, in 1133, King Henry 1 died soon after a solar eclipse, spreading rumors and superstitions that eclipses weren’t good for a king’s health.

Additionally, during the Chinese dynasty in 2500 BCE, the solar eclipse was associated with the success and health of an emperor. When the astrologers failed to predict the solar eclipse, they used to get the death penalty. It is said that once there was an unexpected solar eclipse, and two astrologers named Hsi and Ho were killed on the king’s order for not predicting it earlier. Just like the Chinese, Babylonians believed that the solar eclipse was bad for kings.

To avoid consequences, the real king hires or seats substituted kings during the eclipse, so the anger of God would be on the temporary kings instead of the real ones. It may surprise you, but the Chinese also used to believe that a solar eclipse happens when a vast dragon tries to eat or overpower the sun. They used to beat drums and pots to make loud noises that would scare the dragon away. Even in the 19th century, when scientists devised logical reasoning behind an eclipse, the Chinese used cannons to scare that mythical dragon away.

Modern Perspective on Solar Eclipse

To avoid consequences, the real king hires or seats substituted kings during the eclipse, so the anger of God would be on the temporary kings instead of the real ones. It may surprise you, but the Chinese also used to believe that a solar eclipse happens when a vast dragon tries to eat or overpower the sun. They used to beat drums and pots to make loud noises that would scare the dragon away. Even in the 19th century, when scientists devised logical reasoning behind an eclipse, the Chinese used cannons to scare that mythical dragon away.

More and more people are accepting solar eclipses as a good and helpful thing for science as, during an eclipse, scientists can calculate the accurate diameter of the sun. You can also utilize solar eclipses to observe various scientific phenomena. A few health risks are associated with a solar eclipse, such as seeing the eclipse without glasses causes blindness or eyes burning, but there’s nothing more than that. You must wear glasses or other safety measures to protect your eyes from the solar eclipse.

Solar Eclipse in 2017

The solar eclipse 2017 was one of the most remarkable as it was the first eclipse with a path of totality. It crossed the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, and this was something that previously happened in 1918. Moreover, this eclipse caused landfall in the U.S., making it the first eclipse with such an enormous effect since its independence declaration in 1776. As the astrologers already predicted this solar eclipse, many people in the U.S. arranged several events so that people could watch the site of this magnificent natural happening.

Festivals or Events for Solar Eclipse Sightseeing

The list of festivals hosted by the U.S. people that enables millions of people to watch this vast total solar eclipse is given below:

1.     Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience in Madras, Oregon

This was hosted on the Madras High School Football Field, where the attendees got solar glasses to see the solar eclipse. Moreover, the hosts also arranged a star party Sunday evening filled with exhibitions and hourly astrology talks to entertain astronomy enthusiasts.

2.     Events in the greater St. Louis area

The total solar eclipse wasn’t much visible in St. Louis, and only a few areas of the city witnessed it. So, to help people watch this breathtaking sight, this event was held around the path of totality, deeper into the city.

3.     Roper Mountain Science Center in Greenville, South Carolina

For a science geek, there’s nothing better than a science center to view the total solar eclipse in two minutes. Besides letting people see the Solar eclipse, the Roper Mountain Science Center held multiple eclipse-week activities, including a planetarium show. This event lasted from August 14 to August 21 and entertained dozens of people.

4.     Chattooga Belle Farm and Distillery Eclipse Fest in Long Creek, South Carolina

This event was arranged closest to the path of totality and lasted for two days. Music, astronomy talks, and spectacular views of the blue ridge mountains kept the visitors engaged. However, to enter the festival, people needed a ticket.

Solar Eclipses for 2023 -2024

If you were a part of the great solar eclipse that happened on August 21, 2017, you must be anticipating another solar eclipse of the same intensity. So, fasten your seatbelts because another total solar eclipse that will be most visible in the North American region will appear on April 8, 2024. The moon’s dark shadow, approximately 115 miles wide, will cross-sweep northeast Mexico and Texas to Maine. People living at the other end of North America will only witness a partial solar eclipse if the sky is cloud-free.

Another closest solar eclipse is going to happen on October 14, 2023. However, the moon will not completely cover the sun; instead, it will change into a ring of fire, resulting in a partial solar eclipse. So, if you want to witness a partial or total solar eclipse, don’t forget to wear your sun-protected glasses and go on the north side of the region on these days in 2023 and 2024. You can also expect different events and festivals during the total eclipse in 2024.

Solar Eclipses for 2023 -2024

Solar energy is undoubtedly an excellent renewable energy source from the sun that you can utilize to produce energy. This is changing the face of technology. For this purpose, a solar panel is handy as it has a photovoltaic cells chip that converts solar energy into electrical or heats energy. Solar Panels are installed at the top of residential or commercial buildings to get the maximum benefit from the sun.

A solar eclipse means the moon covers the sun, making it impossible for the sun’s radiation to reach the earth. Hence, the solar panel gets little to no solar energy, and the overall energy production of a solar panel decreases during this time.

For instance, if your solar panel makes 40 kWh on a typical day during the eclipse for 2 minutes or 3 hours, the energy output will drop by 20 kWh or less. So, to mitigate the effect of a solar eclipse on solar panels, the U.S. government is taking quick actions like creating solar energy storage grids that compensate for the power loss during the solar eclipse time.

So, if such an event happens and the efficiency of your solar system reduces, don’t rush for its repair. Once it passes, everything will turn back to normal again.

Conclusion

Solar Eclipse is a naturally occurring thing and happens only once or twice a year when the moon covers the sun while completing its orbit around the earth. Although solar eclipses have no mythological or superstitious value, seeing them without glasses is not recommended, or you will suffer eye burn or blindness.

A solar eclipse also affects the working of a solar panel as it relies on the sun for energy production. When there’s not enough sun radiation, the solar panel power output will also be low, causing fluctuations in your home’s electricity.

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