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1.1 The solar eclipse

This display recreates the phenomenon of a total solar eclipse. On this base are our Earth and the Moon. 340 metres away, on the other side of the small valley, our Sun is represented by a red and yellow disc, 3.40 metres in diameter.

The three objects are positioned to represent the relationship between the actual diameters and distances.

If we look through the small hole pierced in the Earth, we notice that the small ball that represents the Moon, completely conceals the Sun which although much bigger, is situated much further away.

lt is this same phenomenon that occurs approximately twice a year, on small fortunate parts of our planet. If we walk around the base of the display whilst looking at the sphere that represents the Moon and is attached to the pole, one can observe its different phases.

This experiment has been provided by the Faculty of Science of Geneva University, which had made it available to the public during the solar eclipse of 11th August 1999.