Summer Solstice Solar Eclipse of 2020

PS: The annular solar eclipse will be live broadcasted from Surtgarh in Rajasthan on June 21, 2020 from 10:00 am till 02:00 pm IST (04:30 am till 08:30 am UT) on our YouTube Channel

This summer solstice will show a majestic celestial alignment which shall be unique in its own way. The Annular Solar Eclipse will be visible from the Northern states of Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The eclipse in India will begin on the western border at 10:12:14 over the sand dunes in the desert state Rajasthan covering a width of about 60 KMs from North to South. The eclipse will begin on the eastern edge of Uttarakhand bordering Tibet at 10:29:10 in the Nanda Devi National Park. The duration of entire eclipse will be about 3 hours 30 minutes and will vary from the central line towards one of the edges. The duration of annularity will also vary between 38.6 seconds to less than 6 seconds depends upon your position with in the shadow path.

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Annular Solar Eclipse of Jan 15 2010, visible from Varkala Kerala, © AAAD

The eclipse of the Sun takes place when The Sun, The Moon and The Earth all appear in a straight line. The observer on The Earth watch The Moon moving in front of The Sun while covering it. The Moon and the Sun has the same ration of their size and their distance from earth. This makes their apparent size in the sky to be identical. The elliptical orbits of The Earth around the Sun and The Moon around the Earth causes small apparent changes in their sizes and hence the nature of eclipses are different. A smaller Moon and bigger Sun will cause “Annular Eclipse” whereas a Small Sun and bigger Moon will cause “Total Eclipse”. And when the sizes are nearly the same, the eclipse will be a hybrid eclipse in which case either translate from annular to total or total to annular eclipse. It is very rare and we are lucky to have one such eclipse happening in June from India.

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Path of Eclipse – Blue lines marks the boundaries while Red marks the central line. ©Xavier Jubbier

This eclipse is very unique in nature. The eclipse will start in Central African nation DRC or Congo with the maximum duration of 1m22.4 sec. The eclipse will traverse from Central Africa into Middle East and finally to Asia. Passing through Pakistan, India Tibet, China and Taiwan, the eclipse will end in North Pacific Ocean with a duration of 1m 16.8 sec. At the time of greatest eclipse, the duration will be only 38.2 sec. During the eclipse the magnitude will increase from annular eclipse to near total and then to annular. This type of eclipses are very rare and hence are sometimes referred as “Hybrid Eclipse”. India and Tibet are placed very well to observe this eclipse. Also some refer to this eclipse as a very deep eclipse. Eclipse chasers believe this kind of eclipses are very rare and the next such eclipse will be visible in the year 2052 which will be mostly in Atlantic ocean with landfall on some very small islands, not easily accessible to humans. The next such incident will occur in 2086 which will be entirely in waters in the Pacific Ocean. This makes this eclipse very critical and important to observe. If you can then you should make all efforts to watch this eclipses as it is not like any other eclipse we can see.

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On June 21st, we will also be celebrating Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. Also The Sun will be near apogee which means the Sun will be farther from Earth than usual. The Sun’s apparent size a few arc seconds smaller. The Moon on this day will be farther from the Earth and hence appear smaller. This causes the Annular Eclipse of The Sun. The distance of The Moon on this day will be approximately 3,84,000 KM. The Annular eclipse is also refer to as the “Ring of Fire” due to the solar disk appear as ring around The Moon. The initial and final phases of the eclipse are same as the total eclipse however during the maximum eclipse, instead of observing the corona, we observe the disk of Sun around which enable us to study the lunar limb profile. During the Total eclipse, one can remove filter during the totality and enjoy the views of corona however in annular eclipse, the filters shall never be removed during the eclipse. Yes baily’s beads are visible but the Sun is also visible which can damage your eyes.

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To view the eclipse safely, you need to use certain safe equipments to observe. The use of solar filters is widely accepted method for safe viewing. Projecting image of The Sun is another method to observe. Astrophile India will be doing a live webcast of the eclipse for all the users and followers. The same can be shared among your groups/institutions/social media as per your choice.

Here are Central contact timings for ASE2020  for some of the cities in India. If your city is not mentioned in it, find the nearest one around you and the timings will be off by a few milliseconds for the location on your east or west. If the location is north or south of your observation site, the timings will be similar except the percentage of obscuration will vary by a few basis points. If you are not in the “Path of Annularity” and do not want to travel to the locations to witness Annular eclipse, then I would suggest you read Contact times for ASE2020 which covers most of the important cities across all states and Union territories in India. If you do not find any city with in 100 KM radius of your location in this, do let us know and we will add the list and share timings for your location. Please Note: The timings are in UT/GMT and needs to be converted to IST by adding 5h 30m to the specified time in the table.

Here is a video for you all to watch and learn why you should go out to see the eclipse.

 

While you get all excited and willing to go out and look at it, please understand that looking at Sun is extremely harmful and dangerous to your eyes. There are certain safe methods to observe. If you do not know, search it over the internet or write to us for more details. If you do not have any equipment and want to join us for more details, we will announce the same in the month of March after 10th. Do visit CosmeaScopes to look for solar filters and other equipment for your observations. You can also Visit AstroNomadLife for more information on joining our eclipse expedition.

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