Eclipse: NASA explains the moon’s role in a solar eclipse
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Arriving hot on the heels of the May 26 Blood Moon, the Sun is about to experience its own spectacular eclipse. The Moon will pass directly in front of the Sun but only obscure a portion of the Sun’s face, creating a fiery halo in the sky. Astronomers predict the spectacle will be visible over swathes of North America, including parts of the US and Canada.
When is the annular eclipse?
The eclipse will make an appearance early on Thursday, June 10.
According to the Maine Farmers’ Almanac, the “weird and dramatic” event will unfold in the early morning hours, Eastern Time.
For those lucky enough to be in the eclipse’s path, the Sun will be obscured around the time of sunset.
Eclipsing will begin at about 5.24am EST and last for about one hour and six minutes.
Maximum eclipse – the moment of greatest coverage – is pencilled in for 5.32am EST and the affair will end by 6.30am EST.
The Farmers’ Almanac said: “The viewing zone will fall anywhere north and east of a line running roughly from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to Evansville, Indiana, extending on to the Atlantic coast near Savannah, Georgia.
“Depending on where you are, if your sky is clear, the rising Sun will be somewhat unusual and appear slightly dented, deeply crescent-shaped, or ring-shaped.”
Viewers in the New York States, New England, and parts of southern Ontario and Quebec will see the Sun take on the shape of a glowing crescent.
The almanac added: “Toronto will see 86 percent of the Sun’s diameter eclipsed, 85 percent in Montreal, and 80 percent for New York and Boston.”
Annular solar eclipse: Crowds gather to see ‘ring of fire’
Why will the Sun turn into a Ring of Fire?
Because of a fortunate astronomical coincidence, the relative size of the Moon and the Sun are roughly the same.
That is why we sometimes have total eclipses where the Moon can completely blot out the Sun for minutes at a time.
But the Moon’s orbit of the Earth is not perfectly circular, so the Moon is sometimes farther or closer to us.
If the Moon happens to be farther away during a solar eclipse, it might not cover the Sun’s entire face.
When this happens, we get to witness a so-called annular eclipse.
This type of eclipse is characterised by the beautiful halo of sunlight that can be seen around the Moon’s edges.
The term comes from the Latin word “annulus” which means “ring-shaped”.
However, it is just as dangerous to look at an annular eclipse as it is to look at a total eclipse.
If you’re lucky enough to witness the eclipse next week, be sure to wear appropriate eye protection.
If you don’t have access to specialised glasses with a mylar filter – or welders’ goggle – there are a few alternatives.
The Farmers’ Almanac said: “The safest way to watch is by means of projecting the Sun’s image onto a white sheet of paper or cardboard.
“Poke a small hole in an index card with a pencil point and hold a second card two or three feet behind it.
“For a nice, sharp image some have used a tiny pinhole pierced in aluminium foil.
“Telescopes and binoculars can project a much larger, sharper, and brighter image of the Sun which can also show any sunspot groups that may be present.
“Just be sure no one looks at the Sun through the instrument!”
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