Do you remember the day when your teacher taught you all about eclipses in class? Infact, eclipses are among the first topics in science that are taught in schools, along with lessons about space and other heavenly bodies. Since then, you would have been excited to witness a lunar or a solar eclipse, and some of you may have even seen one already.
Eclipses are some of the very few celestial events that can be seen from earth, besides the setting of the sun and moon and a meteor shower. Some eclipses are visually stunning, while others may seem ordinary. However, on June 10, the sky will be lit with a very special eclipse, one that presents a literal ring of fire! In this rare solar eclipse, the outer rim of the sun will be visible from behind the moon, thus resembling a ring of fire!
This stunning event will take place when the Sun, Moon and the Earth will align together to form a vibrant coloured ring around the Moon as it covers the Sun. 97% of the sun will be covered, leaving only the outer rim to be visible. This is called an annular solar eclipse and will last for over an hour.
While you are geared up to witness the eclipse with protective eyewear, unfortunately, it won’t be visible in India.
However, Greenland will be able to see the ring of fire. It will also appear in Siberia and the North Pole as well. Russia and Northern Canada and some parts of Asia will also witness it. Nevertheless, thanks to the internet, you can access pictures and videos of this rare cosmic event.
And rings of fire happen multiple times in a span of a few years. So, equipped with knowledge about them, you can enjoy the experience a lot better!
What is an annular eclipse?
Although you may know all about annular eclipses, here is a quick summary from us: Eclipses are periodic (sometimes annual) events where the sun (solar eclipse) or moon (lunar eclipse) disappears because of the shadows cast by the moon on the sun or the earth on the moon.
What’s happening on June 10 is an annular solar eclipse! A solar eclipse happens when the moon gets in between the earth and the sun. You would also remember that it happens only on or around the New Moon Day, when the shadow of the moon falls on the earth’s surface.
When the shadow of the moon is cast on the earth while it blocks the sunlight, it causes an eclipse. The sun will completely or partially be blocked for a brief period of time from our vision and we will either witness complete darkness or reduced sunlight.
Now, you must understand that for an eclipse to happen at all, it takes the right celestial mechanics and time. They are either total (when the sun is completely hidden) or annular (when the outer ring is still visible). Whether an eclipse is total or annular depends on the distance between these three objects. And this distance keeps changing because of the elliptical orbits that the moon and the earth take. And that’s a rare occurrence.
Needless to say, the eclipse is a visual treat. Getting to witness it is a whole different probability, dependent on the weather. If the skies are cloudy, you may not experience the beauty of the spectacle in its entirety.
How many eclipses will this year have?
There are at least one or two eclipses that happen every year. This year, we are lucky to expect four!
On May 26, we witnessed a total lunar eclipse. Stargazers were amazed to see a bright red moon, often called blood moon, which appeared massive and red due to the refracted light from the earth.
While you are keeping your fingers crossed for the solar eclipse in June, brace yourself for another partial lunar eclipse in November and another total solar eclipse in December.
Do you like eclipses? How many times have you witnessed one? Share your experience with us in the comments below.
Aparna is a mom, singer and dreamer. At BYJU'S, she writes stories about learning for children. She believes in the power of music, especially ghazal, the magic of the universe and happy learners. When not writing or singing, you will find her intensely engaged in conversations about life and the power of words.
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