A total solar eclipse – when the moon passes entirely in front of the sun – will occur Friday morning over the North Atlantic Ocean. The full effect of the eclipse will be visible in that region, and a partial eclipse will be in view for a much wider area.
As explained in a CBS News report, “While a total eclipse will be a hard-to-catch sight, billions around the globe will be able to see a partial one, when the edge of the moon first intrudes into the solar disc.”
The two-hour eclipse should be visible to some degree in northern Africa, western Asia and parts of the Middle East. The entirety of Europe will witness a partial eclipse. According to the European Space Agency, the phenomenon will appear as roughly half an eclipse in Italy, increasing in darkness across locations in Europe until its darkest appearance as a 97 percent eclipsed sun in northern Scotland.
In addition to scores of amateur solar viewers, astronomers will be watching closely for the rare opportunity the event affords for solar study. As explained by CBS News, the event offers scientists “a rare chance to directly observe the interactions between different layers of the sun’s atmosphere, known as the photosphere, chromosphere and the solar corona.”
The eclipse offers a better view of the sun’s atmosphere because it is normally too difficult to see due to the sun’s brightness. Scientists hope that further study of the Sun’s corona may help aid in predicting the timing and impact of solar flares like the one that bombarded Earth earlier this week.
The next opportunity for people in the United States to view a total solar eclipse will be Aug. 21, 2017.