Two solar eclipses to occur this summer

Both partial, the eclipses will occur on opposite sides of the planet.
By Laurel Kornfeld | Nov 20, 2018
Two partial solar eclipses will occur this summer on opposite sides of the Earth, one over parts of the southern hemisphere and the other over parts of the northern hemisphere.

Both will be only partial eclipses rather than total or annular ones. Annular eclipses occur when the Moon is too far away to cover the entire Sun, leaving a "ring of fire" visible at maximum eclipse.

Professor Jay Pasachoff of Williams College in Williamstown, MA and chair of the International Astronomical Union's (IAU) Working Group on Eclipses, plans to observe both of them, which occur just one month apart, and discuss eclipse eye safety with the public at both sites.

On July 13, the first eclipse, in which just ten percent of the Sun will be covered at maximum, will be visible in the northernmost rim of Antarctica, southern Australia, the island of Tasmania, and the ocean separating these areas.

The entire partial eclipse will last one hour and four minutes, with maximum eclipse occurring at 1:24 PM local time in Hobart, Tasmania.

In Melbourne, the Sun will at most be just two percent obscured. Because Antarctica is currently in winter, it is in perpetual darkness until the September equinox, so no eclipse will be visible there.

Pasachoff, who has seen numerous solar eclipses, will observe this one from Tasmania.

A month later, on August 11, the second partial eclipse will occur over the most northerly latitudes. Currently in six months of sunlight, the North Pole will see 65 percent of the Sun obscured at maximum eclipse.

Fifty-seven percent of the Sun will be covered by the Moon in Yakutsk, Russia, just below the Arctic Circle while 45 percent of the solar disk will be covered over the Norwegian Archipelago of Svalbard. Greenland will experience 25-50 percent coverage and Iceland 20 percent coverage.

For Seoul, South Korea, and Shanghai, China, the Sun will be on the horizon and be 20 percent eclipsed.

The cities of Oslo, Norway; Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; St. Petersburg, Russia, and Moscow, Russia, will respectively see just five percent, four percent, eight percent, nine percent, and two percent obscuration.

Worldwide, this eclipse will last three-and-a-half hours.

Pasachoff plans to join colleagues approximately 100 miles above the Arctic Circle in Kuruna, Sweden, where 25 percent of the Sun will be covered. From there, he will travel to Tomso, Norway, where 29 percent of the solar disk will be obscured.

Neither eclipse will be visible to North American viewers.

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