For most people watching a solar eclipse, there are 3 distinct yet different phases: before, during, and after totality. While that is correct, that they are 3 distinct stages of the eclipse, there are more phases than that. There are 4 contacts and 2 partial phases for a solar eclipse, which we will learn about the contact phases below.
The first and fourth contacts relate to the eclipse as a whole, while the second and third contacts are about totally,
This is when the moon begins to touch the sun and the eclipse begins. First contact is initially visible through a telescope, then in binoculars, and finally with the unaided eye. Regardless of how you view it, observing with a safe solar filter is an absolute must.
The instant when the total or annular phase of an eclipse begins.
The instant when the total or annular phase of an eclipse ends.
This is when the eclipse ends, when the moon no longer covers any part of the sun.
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