Chandrakant 'CK' Isi
28th Apr 2014
Year's first Solar Eclipse is going to take place tomorrow (29 April, 2014). As we all know, Solar Eclipse is a result of Moon passing between the Sun and Earth, and blocking the Sun's view from Earth in the process. Tomorrow's event is an annular solar eclipse. This happens when the distance between the Moon and Earth is relatively larger. The Moon appears smaller in the sky and doesn't cover the Sun completely. The Sun's outer edges look similar to a ring, which astronomers around the world appropriately call the “ring of fire".
The darkest part of the Moon's shadow (known as the Umbra) will fall near the South Pole. So, if you want to experience this spectacular event, the ideal place to be is Antarctica. Lucky Penguins! Kangaroos too will get a glimpse of this rare celestial event, but only the partial Eclipse. Australia is the only part of the Earth with significant human population where the Eclipse will be visible. Australia’s neighbour Kiwis (New Zealand) will miss out on this event since Sun will set on their country by the time Eclipse starts.
You can see the path of Annular Eclipse in the graph above (Credit: NASA).
The Eclipse won't be visible from India. I’m sure astronomy aficionados wouldn’t mind travelling to Australia. If you happen to be there tomorrow, mark these timing. According to Space.com, in Perth, Western Australia, the event will begin at 1:15 p.m. local time. It will be visible from Melbourne at 3:58 p.m. local time and folks in Sydney will have to wait till 4:13 pm.
Please keep in mind that observing the Eclipse with naked eyes is extremely dangerous. During the event, Sun’s radiation can cause retinal burns. NASA explains that the high level of near-infrared radiation causes heating that literally cooks the exposed tissue. What's worse is that you don't realise that your eyes are getting hurt. Well, the damage happens without pain because human retina lacks pain receptors.
If you're looking for a safe filter to watch the Eclipse, it's shade number 14 welder's glass. A popular inexpensive alternative is aluminised mylar shades made specifically for solar observation. Remember that photography negatives, medical x-rays, CDs (compact disks) are not safe.
You can watch the spectacle via Slooh robotic telescope’s live streaming service. For your convenience, we’ve embedded it here. So do come back tomorrow to view the Eclipse as it happens.
Everything You Need To Know About 2014’s First Solar Eclipse
For the best view you’ll have to travel to Antarctica.
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