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On August 21, people in North America could view a solar eclipse for the first time in 38 years. If you would like to discuss this rare event with your friends, here are six Russian words you may need.
The basic word to know is затмение, eclipse. This word is related to тёмный (dark) and темнота (darkness). The moon blocking the sun is called солнечное затмение (a solar eclipse), and the earth blocking sunlight from the moon is called лунное затмение (a lunar eclipse).
Солнце (the sun, pronounced сонце) is another important word for talking about astronomy. A related term, солнышко (literally, “little sun”) is a term of endearment.
There are actually two words for the moon is Russian. Луна normally refers to the full moon, while месяц refers to the crescent moon. Of course, this is not an exact science, and the in-between cases will be up to the speaker. Месяц is also the word for a month.
Тень is the word for a shadow/shade. Тенистый means shaded/shady (literally shaded from the sun, not underhanded), while теневой means “gray, unregulated” (e.g. теневая экономика, informal economy).
Очки (always plural) are eyeglasses. Солнцезащитные очки (sunglasses, л is silent) are supposed to protect you from UV light (ультрафиолет), although you still shouldn’t stare directly at the sun.
If you did not have special protective glasses to look at the eclipse, you could have looked at its projection using камера-обскура (a pinhole camera). Many people in the path of the eclipse made one for the first time since their photography projects in school.
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