Four solar eclipses were observed in the equatorial region of the Earth. The first of them was complete with a strip width in the middle of the eclipse of 50 km, the second was complete with a width of 150 km, the third was annular with a width of 50 km, and the fourth was annular with a width of 150 km. Arrange these eclipses in ascending order of the largest phase.
In the problem statement it is said that all four eclipses were observed near the Earth’s equator. This means that in the middle of every event on Earth, the full or annular phase was observed very high above the horizon, which in turn means that the width of the strip in the middle of the eclipse is practically equal to the thickness of the lunar shadow cone or its continuation.
The phase of a central solar eclipse, as well as its type (total or annular), depend on the distance to the Sun and the Moon. The figure shows the Sun, Moon and the converging cone of shadow cast by it, in which a total solar eclipse can be observed. At some distance from the Moon, the cone contracts to a point, and then it turns into a diverging cone, from which an annular eclipse of the Sun is already visible.
It is obvious that the phase of a solar eclipse is the greater, the larger the apparent dimensions of the moon, that is, the closer we are to it.
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