SOHO and the 2002 total eclipse
On 4 December 2002, the Moon will pass in front of our Sun, giving us a total solar eclipse. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon comes between the Sun and the observer. This happens when the shadow cone of the Moon intersects the surface of the Earth, and is observable by anyone within this shadow zone.
Two conditions have to be met for a solar eclipse to occur. The first concerns the relationship between the orbits of the Earth and the Moon, which are not in the same plane, but are inclined at around 5 degrees (5 degrees 8' 43") to each other. The Moon crosses the plane of the Earth's orbit twice in each complete orbit. For an eclipse to occur the Moon must be near one of these intersection points (or nodes).
The second condition is that the Sun, the Earth and the Moon must also be lined up, corresponding to the phase of the New Moon.
This time, the eclipse will only be visible in Australia and South Africa.
For more information, see: