Solar Eclipse on June 21

New Delhi, June 20, 2020: A rare celestial event, annular solar
eclipse, popularly called as Ring of Fire eclipse
will be visible tomorrow.
The first solar eclipse of this year takes place on
the summer solstice, which is the longest day in
the Northern Hemisphere. While people living
along the path annular eclipse passing through
Anupgarh, Suratgarh, Sirsa, Jakhal, Kurukshetra,
Yamunanagar, Dehradun, Tapowan and Joshimath
will be able to see the annular phase, people in
rest of India can witness a partial eclipse.
When the Moon comes between the Sun and
Earth, the shadow falls on the surface of the
Earth. The Sun is entirely covered by the Moon
for a brief period. Those places that are engulfed
by the dark, dense umbral shadow of the Moon
experience the total solar eclipse. In the regions
that plunge into the soft diffused penumbral shadow
of the Moon experience the partial eclipse.
In all solar eclipse the Sun, Moon and Earth
may not be perfectly aligned and then we only
have a partial eclipse. When the three celestial
bodies happen to be in a straight line, we have a
Total solar eclipse.
“Annular solar eclipse is a particular case of the
total solar eclipse. Like the total solar eclipse, the
Moon is aligned with the Sun. However, on that
day, the apparent size of the Moon happens to be
a wee smaller than the Sun. Hence the Moon
covers the central part of the Sun and the rim of
the Sun appear like a ‘ring of fire’ in the sky for a
very brief moment,” explains Samir Dhurde of
The Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and
Astrophysics, Pune.
The distance between the Earth and the Moon at
the moment of the eclipse can dictate the type of
eclipse that will take place. The distance between

the Earth and the Moon is always changing due
to the egg-shaped elliptical orbit of the Moon.
This means that there are times where it is closer
to the Earth and appears slightly bigger in the sky
and times where it is farther away and appears
somewhat smaller in the sky.
Coincidentally, during the eclipse that takes
place on June 21, 2020 the apparent size of the
Moon is smaller than that of the Sun by 1%.
At the onset of the solar eclipse, the Sun gives a
characteristic appearance of a bitten apple. A
small part of the Sun is covered by the disc of the
Moon. After that, slowly and steadily the disc of
the Moon embraces larger and larger part of the
Sun. On a narrow track that the Moon’s shadow
traces on Earth during an annular solar eclipse,
people can see the Moon traversing on the Sun
and covering the central part. As the Moon is not
able to block out the entire Sun, a bright ring of
sunlight around the Moon will be visible. This is
how this type of eclipse earned the nickname the
‘Ring of Fire’ eclipse.
“If we miss this opportunity, in India we will
have to wait for about 28 months for the next
solar eclipse. The next solar eclipse, which will
be a partial solar eclipse, visible from India will
take place on October 25, 2022. It would be visible
in the western part of India,” said Aniket Sule,
Chairperson, Public Outreach & Education Committee
of the Astronomical Society of India.
The Sun is a very bright object and looking at it
directly can cause severe damage to the eye and
vision. There are special goggles made for looking
at the Sun. These goggles filter the sunlight
for safe viewing.
“Often the Public Outreach and Education
Committee of Astronomical Society of India and
other astronomical institutions/planetariums and
other science popularisation agencies usually
make arrangements for safe viewing of the
eclipse. However, due to the lockdown this time,
we are not able to make solar filters available.
Further, we strongly advise people not to gather
in large numbers to view the eclipse given the
pandemic situation. There are easy tips for viewing
the eclipse from the safety of your home,”
says Arvind Paranjpye, Director, Nehru Planetarium,
Mumbai.
Allying rumours that the eclipse will mark the
end of coronavirus, Aniket Sule said, “The Solar
eclipse is caused when the Moon comes in front
of the Sun for a short time. As seen from the
Earth, eclipses occur somewhere in the Earth 2 to
5 times a year. Eclipses do not impact microorganisms
on Earth. Likewise there no danger in
eating of stepping out during an eclipse. No mysterious
rays come out of the Sun during an
eclipse.”
Tips for viewing the eclipse:
Do not use sunglasses, goggles, exposed x-ray
sheet or lampblack over a glass. They are not
safe. Nor is viewing the Sun’s image on the surface
of the water. Welders glass #13 or # 14 can
be used to see the Sun directly with naked eyes.
Make a pinhole in a card sheet and hold it under
the Sun. At some distance, keep a screen of white
paper. Image of the Sun can be seen on this
sheet. By adjusting the gap between the sheet and
the screen, the image can be made larger.
Look at the shadow of a bush or a tree. With the
gaps between the leaves acting like a pinhole,
numerous images of the eclipsed Sun can be seen
on the ground.
You can use a strainer for making pinhole
images.
Cover the ‘compact’ makeup kit mirror with
black paper, with a small hole at the centre.
Reflect the image of the Sun on a distant wall in
shadow. You can get a projected image of the
eclipsed Sun.
Info tips
Bhuj will be the first town in India to see the
beginning of the eclipse at 9:58 a.m. The eclipse
ends 4 hours later at Dibrugarh, Assam at 2:29
p.m. Ghersana at the western boundary of India
will be the first to witness the annular phase of
the eclipse at 11:50 a.m. It will last for 30 seconds.
Kalanka peak in Uttarakhand will be the
last major landmark to see the annular eclipse at
12:10 p.m. lasting for 28 seconds. – PIB

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