The physics of total solar eclipses: what we've learned from them thanks to this science

With the support of an expert, we tell you how physics has evolved due to studies around total solar eclipses.

Some places next month North America Get a chance to see One of the most impressive astronomical phenomena. That would be right, April 8 We have already reviewed the different angles of interest when this phenomenon occurs. However, one of our great outstanding tasks is to find out Physics of total solar eclipsesOne thing we are now going to explain with the support of an expert on this subject.

In fact, the Dr. Monica W. Blanco CardenasThe astrophysicist and science communicator has given us answers to some questions that will lead us to a better understanding. Body, What are total solar eclipses and what is the importance of studying these events?. Without further ado for now, we invite you to read what the expert had to say National Geography in Spanish.

How does physics describe a total solar eclipse?

From the point of view of physics, An eclipse is caused by the light of the sun and the movement of the stars.. This happens because of the ceaseless cosmic dance described by the stars. in this situation, Sun, Moon and Earth.

The first place to start is to explore what physics can tell us about these types of eclipses Engine of the Universe: Gravity. A force studied by Isaac Newton and considered in his law of universal gravitation (1687), it was corrected 300 years later. Albert Einstein within it General theory of relativity (1915)

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In short, the doctor points out, gravity is not a mysterious force that depends on how far apart objects are. objects or bodiesRather it is because of it Deformations Due to people with high mass The fabric of spacetime.

“These distortions are similar to what a ball causes on a spreadsheet: the heavier the ball, the greater the distortion on the sheet. Sol Virtually a companion star 99% of all matter in the solar system, “Everybody goes around it, precisely because of the distortion it causes with its enormous mass,” explains the expert.

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On the other hand, there are Kepler's lawsThis explains the planets moving inside Elliptical orbits around a star (1609), as well as at what speed and how long it takes. Likewise, they are also used for reading Movement of satellites (natural and artificial), comets and asteroids.

“We must not forget that All this is understood through mathematicsConic sections including: circle, ellipse, parabola and hyperbola”. Dr. Monica Blanco.

What physical discoveries have been made by studying total solar eclipses?

The Dr. Blanco Emphasizes that the most famous example of the impact of research Total solar eclipses Maybe, one of them did the test general theory of relativity, On the contrary, it had its complexity, the effects of which are not visible to the naked eye.

“Expected The total solar eclipse of 1919This occurred four years after Einstein published this theory A unique opportunity to check “Distortions or Bends in the Space-Time Fabric”

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DKosig/Getty Images

A journey AfricaAt the helm Arthur EddingtonHe made observations that provided the first evidence that Einstein was right. During that eclipse, a slight change was detected in the position of the star near the Sun, in other words, It has been experimentally demonstrated that even light rays are bent or distorted when they pass too close to a massive body like a star in our planetary system..

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“Our star has an outer layer of its atmosphere “Solar Corona”It was announced for the first time in a while Total Eclipse in Türkiye (969 ne), it makes its spectacular appearance only during this type of eclipse.

Why is studying these types of eclipses important to science?

In the physics of the universe, as in other areas of science, there are fundamental questions that cannot be tested in the laboratory. Total solar eclipses have made it possible to observe gravity, or space weather, the solar corona.. The latter is particularly important because it affects telecommunications.

Surveys around Total solar eclipseLikewise, they are also encouraged Technology. A direct application General theory of relativity Is he GPS (Global Positioning System), a tool that came Makes daily activities easierHow to find directions using your cell phone.

“The science behind it Eclipses go even furtherBeing partial, the Sun and the Moon do not contribute only to the protagonists. Valuable knowledgeFor the first time, the speed of light, the distance from the Earth to the Sun could be measured and thereby, the enormous. Dimensions of the Solar System And we develop Techniques for detecting extraterrestrials“, he concludes Dr. Monica W. Blanco Cardenas.

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