SOLAR ECLIPSE, 21st June 2020

The Earth will witness an annular solar eclipse on Sunday, 21 June and the people in India will be able to catch this annual celestial event in action. It is not a regular one as it falls on the summer solstice, i.e. the longest day and the shortest night of the year.

What is solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth. When this happens, the moon blocks the light of the sun from reaching the earth. The shadow of the moon is then cast on the earth.

There are three types of solar eclipses:

First, there is a total solar eclipse — which is only visible from a small area on earth. For the phenomenon to occur, the sun, moon and earth must be in a direct line.

Second is the partial solar eclipse when the sun, moon and earth are not exactly lined up.

The solar eclipse of 21 June, however, is an annular eclipse and is the third type. This happens when the moon is farthest from the earth, according to NASA blog. Since the moon is farther away from the earth, it seems smaller and does not block the entire view of the sun. The moon is in front of the sun and looks like a dark disk on top of an even larger disk which appears like a ring of fire.

The eclipse will be annular in some parts of the country, where sky gazers will get an opportunity to observe the “ring of fire” during the phenomenon. However, for most parts of the country, the eclipse will be partial.

On June 21, the annular eclipse will first start for the people of Congo in Africa and progress through South Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the Indian Ocean and Pakistan, before entering India over Rajasthan. It will then move on to Tibet, China, Taiwan, before ending at the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

This will be the last eclipse to be seen from India for the next 28 months as the next eclipse will be seen in India on October 25, 2022.

In India, the solar eclipse of June 21 with begin at 9:15 am and will end at 3:03 pm. The sun will be seen as a ‘Ring Of Fire’ to the skygazers which is a rare event. The partial eclipse will begin at 9:15 am and it will reach its peak at 12:10 pm. The full eclipse will end at 2:02 pm and the phenomenon will end at 3:04 pm.

Some interesting facts

  1. In a year, there can be as many as five solar eclipses.
  2. A total solar eclipse is a rare sight and happens only once in every 18 months. For a total solar eclipse, the sun has to be blocked at least 90 percent by the moon.
  3. The longest duration of a total solar eclipse is 7.5 minutes
  4. The total solar eclipse cannot be seen from the North and South Poles

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