Weeks after the world witnessed the closest approach of Jupiter to Earth for over 107 years, stargazers are in for another celestial event in the coming days. The Sun, Moon, and Earth are set to come together, although, unevenly to form a partial solar eclipse on October 25.
A solar eclipse occurs when the new Moon passes in front of the Sun, blocking the sunlight. While a solar eclipse only happens at a new moon, not every new moon results in the celestial event. The eclipse appears to have taken a bite out of the Sun as it reaches its maximum.
WHAT IS SOLAR ECLIPSE?
An eclipse takes place when one heavenly body such as a moon or planet moves into the shadow of another heavenly body. A solar eclipse happens the Moon moves between the Sun and Earth blocking the light of the Sun from reaching Earth. This leads to a solar eclipse as the Moon casts a shadow onto Earth.
There are three different types of solar eclipses: Total solar eclipse, Partial Solar Eclipse, and Annular Solar Eclipse.
WHAT IS A PARTIAL SOLAR ECLIPSE?
A partial solar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Moon, and Earth are not exactly aligned and the Sun appears to have a dark shadow on a small part of its surface. There are three phases of a partial solar eclipse, which include a beginning, it reaching a maximum, and an end.
The initial phase includes the moon beginning to move over the Sun’s disk, followed by it reaching a maximum when the maximum part of the Sun’s disk is covered. The third phase is when the moon starts moving away from the Moon, unblocking the sunlight.
The unique feature of the Partial Solar Eclipse is that it happens only on a new moon. Shilpi Gupta, Scientific Officer, M. P. Birla Institute of Fundamental Research at the MP Birla Planetarium explains that it is due to the plane of the Moon’s orbital path. The Sun-Earth plane is not the same as the Earth-Moon plane as they are inclined to each other at an angle of 5.1o. The intersecting points of the two orbits of the Earth and Moon are called nodes. So a New Moon occurs once every lunar month, but an eclipse occurs only when the moon happens to be on one of these nodes on a New Moon day.
“On 25th October the new phase of the moon will occur at 16 h 19 m IST and the moon will cross the descending node on 26th October at 12 h IST,” she added.
WHEN WILL PARTIAL SOLAR ECLIPSE BEGIN?
The Partial Solar Eclipse on October 25 will begin at 8:58 am and end at 1:02 pm. During the eclipse, the magnitude will be 0.862.
WHERE WILL PARTIAL SOLAR ECLIPSE BE VISIBLE?
According to the MP Birla Planetarium, Kolkata, people in Europe, the Middle-East, North-East Africa, Western Asia, the North Atlantic Ocean, West China, India and its neighbouring countries, including the North Indian Ocean will be able to witness a Partial Solar Eclipse.
WHEN WILL NEXT PARTIAL SOLAR ECLIPSE HAPPEN?
The next Partial Solar Eclipse will occur on March 29, 2025. However, it will not be visible in India. The only partial solar eclipse that will be visible from India will happen on November 3, 2032.