This year, humans on Earth will experience four eclipses: two of the sun and two of the moon. The first of these is a solar eclipse that will take place on Saturday.
Interestingly, this partial solar eclipse on April 30 will mark the second of two new moons for the month of April, which is colloquially known as the “Black Moon.”
During this upcoming solar eclipse, the moon’s dark shadow cone, from which a total eclipse can be seen, will completely miss Earth., passing approximately 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) below the South Pole.
But the moon’s outer shadow, or penumbra, will scrape part of the southern hemisphere, resulting in a partial eclipse that will be visible near sunset over a swath of the South Pacific and Southern oceans, as well as in the southern and western parts of the South. America, including Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, southern Peru, southern Bolivia, western Paraguay, and a small portion of Brazil.
Related: How to watch the April 2022 solar eclipse online
The largest eclipse, or the moment when the axis of the Moon’s shadow cone will be closest to the center of the Earth, will take place over the Southern Ocean. (see green star), 300 miles (480 km) northwest of Yelcho Base, a Chilean Antarctic research base in the South Bay, Doumer Island.
A ship or trawler near this location will see the sun barely clearing the west-northwest horizon, with nearly two-thirds of its diameter (63.96%) hidden behind the moon. The normally thick haze on the horizon could dim and redden in sunlight, giving it the appearance of a slice of melon. Unfortunately, no part of this eclipse will be visible from the Northern Hemisphere.
With that said, you can prepare for upcoming solar eclipses with our guide on how to safely photograph a solar eclipse. Our guides on the best cameras for astrophotography and the best lenses for astrophotography can help you choose the best gear suitable for capturing them on camera.
Solar Eclipse Photo Guide:
Below are the viewing circumstances I calculated, courtesy of Fred Espenak. eclipsewise.com website: for some selected cities in South America within the eclipse viewing zone. Local hours apply.
(Dashes indicate that the sun is setting and is not visible. Magnitude is the fraction of the solar diameter covered at its maximum. Obscuration is the amount of coverage of the total area of the sun’s disk.)
|Town||the eclipse begins||Maximum||Magnitude||darkening||Sunset|
The mechanics of a solar eclipse
A solar eclipse can only occur in a new moon phase, when the sun, moon, and Earth are positioned in a straight line. However, the moon’s orbit is slightly off center relative to Earth’s orbital plane (called the ecliptic) by an amount of just over 5 degrees. This means that most of the time when the moon reaches a new moon phase, it passes just above or just below the sun; therefore, no eclipse can occur.
The point where the orbital planes of the Earth and the Moon intersect is called a node. If the moon is new when it reaches the nodal crossing point, a solar eclipse will occur. If the moon reaches the node within several hours of a new phase, the sun-moon-earth alignment will be such that the moon will appear to pass directly in front of the sun, resulting in a “central” solar eclipse. Depending on the distances from the Moon to the Earth and from the Earth to the Sun, the resulting eclipse will be total or annular (ring-shaped).
However, in the case of the next solar eclipse on April 30, the moon will reach a new phase 23 hours and 26 minutes before reaching the node. That’s too far away to allow the moon to pass directly in front of the sun, but close enough to allow the moon to at least cover part of the sun.
If you are within a viewing zone for this or any other solar eclipse: DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN!
Some safety tips for viewing a solar eclipse:
- Project the image of the sun through a pinhole camera, or through binoculars or a telescope, onto a piece of white cardboard or similarly colored sheet of paper and note the “shadow” of the sun on the paper.
- Look at the sun for short intervals through specially made “eclipse glasses,” but still be careful when doing so.
- Look at the sun for short intervals through a No. 13 or No. 14 welder’s lens; this will also appear to turn the sun a shade of green.
- DO NOT look at the sun through tinted glass, cross-tinted filters, or colored water. They may appear to obscure the sun, but the sun’s invisible infrared rays will still get through.
- DO NOT look through a telescope, even with a specialized filter, unless you really know what you are doing. Any filters you may use should be placed over the front, NOT behind the eyepiece.
More safety tips It can be found here.
On October 25, the second solar eclipse of 2022 will occur. As in April, this eclipse will be a partial eclipse, but this time the penumbral shadow of the moon will fall on the northern hemisphere.
The event will be visible from North and East Africa, most of Europe (except southern Spain and Portugal), the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, and a portion of northern and western Russia. The largest eclipse will take place over Russia, with 86% of the sun’s diameter covered by the moon.
2023 will see two solar eclipses, but they will be central. On April 20, 2023, a “hybrid” eclipse – that is, an eclipse that starts out as annular, then changes to total, then annular again before ending – will be visible from the Indian Ocean, the western tip of Australia, New Guinea. and the Pacific Ocean.
And, on October 14, 2023, an annular solar eclipse will stretch from the Pacific coast of Oregon to the Gulf coast of Texas. The path of the annularity will also pass through the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, through Central America and northern South America. Most of the rest of the Western Hemisphere will see a partial eclipse.
Coming back to the next solar eclipse, if you are among the nearly 100 million people within the eclipse viewing zone in South America, we wish you clear skies and safe viewing!
Joe Rao is an instructor and guest speaker at New York’s Hayden Planetarium. write about astronomy natural history magazinethe farmers almanac and other publications. Follow us on twitter @Spacepointcom and in Facebook.