Annular Solar Eclipse


Annular Solar Eclipse

Incredibly, our Moon is of the right size and at the right distance, that when it comes exactly between us and the Sun, it blocks our nearest star. Notice in the diagram above (not to scale) how the Moon casts a dark inner shadow and a lighter outer shadow.

At 4:12:20 am EDT (USA and Canada or 08:12:20 UTC) the Moon’s shadow will make landfall, traveling in a northerly direction, grazing the North Pole and continuing out over Siberia before slipping back into space. For this eclipse, the Moon’s apparent diameter will be slightly less than the Sun’s so that at maximum eclipse you would see a thin ring of light. This is known as an annular eclipse.

To witness this annular eclipse you would have to be standing where the inner dark shadow passes overhead. Stand under the wider, lighter shadow and you would witness a partial eclipse, like the one seen below. In fact, this is almost exactly what you would see if you are in Massachusetts or New York State, once the Sun has cleared the horizon.

For complete path information, animations and timings, visit the Time and Date website: June 10, 2021 Solar Eclipse You must enter your location to know when to look, where to look and what to expect. Here is a sample for Boston MA.

A fun way to witness the partial phase, is to look at the ground underneath a tree. The hundreds of gaps between the leaves act as pinhole cameras, projecting the crescent shape of the partial phase!

Or follow this link to make your own pinhole camera 🙂

Word of caution: Never directly view the Sun. Binoculars, telescopes, cameras or any viewing device must be securely fitted with an ISO 12312-2 certified, professionally crafted solar filter. Even if only a sliver of the Sun is visible, it is still as bright as any other portion, and it will permanently damage your eyes. Does this mean you should hide inside during the eclipse? Not at all! Just follow these safe viewing guidelines from the American Astronomical Society: Viewing a Solar Eclipse Eyewear and Viewers

ISO 12312-2 certified eclipse glasses are a great way to watch the eclipse. Order now to get them in time.

Do a search for your local astronomy club or museum because they may be hosting safe public viewing.

Advance planning is important:
• have a safe and permissible place from which to watch
• Ideally scout a location before June 10 for a clear view of the eastern horizon at sunrise
• in the days leading up to June 10, pay attention to the weather
• have a plan to relocate, if it looks like it will be cloudy
• arrive a good half hour or more, before sunrise, to get settled

Unless you are an experienced astrophotographer or have practiced photographing the Sun, you are better off just enjoying the eclipse. If you are so inclined, practice now, before the day of the eclipse. B&H Photo has an excellent article on photographing a solar eclipse. Fussing with a camera during an eclipse is no fun 🙁

If clouds roll in just before or even during this eclipse, do not despair. Veteran eclipse watchers will tell you to keep watching. The clouds just might part.

A solar eclipse is a spectacular celestial event that photos and videos cannot completely capture. It is one of those things that you just have to witness yourself. Wishing you clear skies!