Saturday, May 19, 2012

Solar eclipse tomorrow

Get your sun watching eyeglasses out. If you live in either East Asia (particularly southern Japan) or western North America you will get to see an annular solar eclipse.

The Moon's shadow will streak across the Pacific mostly, as our natural satellite will be positioned between the Earth and the Sun. People located in East Asia will see the phenomena the morning of the 21st of May, while those located in Western America will see it at the late hours of the 20th, right before sunset. Those in the penumbra will be able to see a partial eclipse.

However, the moon is currently close to it's apogee (when it's furthest to the earth), so its apparent size is not enough to cover the Sun's disk. The result is what looks like a bright ring on the sky, hence the name 'annular eclipse' (from the latin annulus, meaning little ring).

Although the Moon will cover some of the sun's brightness, it is not safe to look at it with naked eyes. It is advisable to get some purpose made glasses or filters, in case of observation with binoculars or a telescope.

This eclipse is a part of a series which has been going on since the year 984, every 18 years and 11 days, called Saros 128. Goes to show how much of a clockwork our solar system can be. The series has 73 events and will end in November of 2282.


  1. Wow, 2282. That's so far away.
    First time I'm hearing of annular eclipse :D
    Amazing how accurately the scientists can predict this phenomena from its beginnings right up to its end

  2. I absolutely love solar eclipses but I won't get to see this one :( I think there's one in every lifetime (roughly one every 70 years or something) and I'm pretty sure I've already had one.

  3. I thought annular eclipse was annual, because I was too lazy to really look at words.
    You learn something new every day!

  4. can you explain what is that "serie" Saros 128? What is that cicle about?
    never late to lern some more.