The world will witness a partial solar eclipse or Aanshik Surya Grahan on Saturday – the last eclipse of the year. It will last for around three hours 30 minutes.
The eclipse will begin from 1:32 pm Indian Standard Time (IST) and last till 5:02 pm IST.
This big partial solar eclipse comes two weeks after a total lunar eclipse on July 27, 2018, and four weeks after another partial solar eclipse on July 13, 2018.
What is a solar eclipse?
A solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes in front of the Sun and casts a shadow on Earth. It’s also known as an occultation. The reason solar eclipses happen is that the distance between the Sun and the Earth is about 400 times the Moon’s distance from the Sun and the Sun’s diameter is approximately 400 times larger than the Moon’s.
What this means is that the Sun and the Moon both have a very similar size when viewed from Earth, so when the Moon passes in front of the Sun, it blocks the light from reaching the Earth.
What is a partial solar eclipse?
A partial solar eclipse occurs when Earth moves through the lunar penumbra (the lighter part of the
Moon’s shadow) as the Moon moves between the Earth and the Sun. The Moon does not block the entire solar disk, as seen from Earth. Depending on your location during a partial eclipse, you might see anything from a small sliver of the Sun being blotted out to a nearly total eclipse.
How to see an eclipse?
To view any eclipse safely, use approved filters or use an indirect method of viewing, such as projecting sunlight through a telescope and onto a white piece of paper or cardboard. Never look at the Sun through a telescope unless it has the appropriate filter. Blindness and severe eye damage can result due to improper observation technique.
12 interesting facts about solar eclipse
- The first recorded eclipse was in China, 4,000 years ago. They actually thought it was a dragon eating the sun.
- Each year there are between two and five solar eclipses.
- The total solar eclipse, when the Moon completely obscures the Sun and leaves only the faint solar corona, is known as a Totality.
- Eclipse totalities differ in their lengths. This is because the Earth is not always at the same distance from the Sun, and the Moon is not always at the same distance from the Earth.
- Total solar eclipses are rare, happening only once every 18 months.
- From either the North or South Pole, only a partial solar eclipse is able to be viewed.
- A solar eclipse only takes place during a New Moon. This is because the Moon needs to be between the Sun and the Earth for the eclipse to take place.
- In prehistoric times, people believed that an eclipse was a warning from the gods and they were going to be punished for some deeds which they had done.
- The word ‘Eclipse’ in Greek means downfall.
- Canadian astronomer JW Campbell travelled all over the globe for 50 years in his efforts to see 12 different eclipses. Unfortunately, each and every time he ran into overcast skies.
- In Chinese, solar eclipse is referred to as ‘shih’, which means ‘to eat’. In ancient times people in China used to beat drums in an attempt to scare the ‘heavenly dog’, which they believed was eating up the sun.
- The solar eclipse, which took place on August 21, 2017, over continental US was the first total eclipse to take place there in 38 years and was nicknamed the The Great American Eclipse. The previous one had occurred on February 26, 1979.
When is the next Solar Eclipse?
Eclipses can occur each year, and they are predictable. There are several places online where you can get up-to-date calendars for all the types of solar eclipses.
mreclipse.com – MrEclipse.com is the page of retired NASA astrophysicist Fred Espenak. He provides a wealth of information about both solar and lunar eclipses.
eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov – The NASA Eclipse Web Site is the official NASA site for eclipse information.
timeanddate.com – Timeanddate is a reliable source of eclipse calendars for both solar and lunar eclipses.