A solar eclipse occurs when a portion of the Earth is engulfed in a shadow cast by the Moon which fully or partially blocks ("occults") sunlight. This occurs when the Sun, Moon and Earth are aligned. Such alignment coincides with a new moon (syzygy) indicating the Moon is closest to the ecliptic plane. In a total eclipse, the disk of the Sun is fully obscured by the Moon. In partial and annular eclipses, only part of the Sun is obscured.
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