An eclipse occurs when the shadow of an object or the object itself passes between an observer and the things that are viewed. This gives the impression of an overlap. One thing is in front of another thing.


This is what a solar eclipse looks like. Observers stand in the shadow created by the moon passing in front of the sun.

  • In a solar eclipse, the shadow of the moon overlaps the sun.

  • A total eclipse occurs when the sun is entirely hidden by the shadow of the moon.

  • Today people on some parts of the Earth will be standing in the shadow created by the moon. Many of these people will be seeing a solar eclipse for the first time.

  • A lunar eclipse is different from a solar eclipse. During a lunar eclipse, the moon crosses in the path of the Earth's shadow so that the moon is partially hidden.



When used as a verb, to eclipse something is to move past it or in front of  it.

  • The President's few accomplishments in office have been eclipsed by scandal and errors.

  • An increase in smart phone use has eclipsed the traditional land line telephone.

  • China's successful strategy of integrating capitalism with communist ideology has eclipsed the less successful economic approaches of the 1960s and 1970s.

  • Tourism to the city of Chicago eclipses the tourism to other destinations in Illinois.


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