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Ryan Milligan, a lecturer in astrophysics at Queen’s University Belfast, spoke about the experience of observing the phenomenon of a solar eclipse as rare and exciting, especially since the Earth will witness a similar event tomorrow.
A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon completely blocks the sun’s disk. Although it is about 400 times smaller than the Sun, it is also 400 times closer to Earth, giving it the same apparent size in the sky.
Because the moon’s orbit is not perfectly circular, it can sometimes appear slightly smaller than the sun. When this alignment occurs, we experience an annular eclipse – a “ring of fire” appears around the moon because a halo from the solar disk is still visible.
Milligan revealed that in an annular eclipse, the temperature barely changes, and the corona remains hidden behind the glare of sunlight. On Thursday, June 10, an annular eclipse will be visible from parts of northeastern Canada, Greenland and Siberia.
In the United Kingdom and Ireland, people will witness a partial solar eclipse. The moon will block about 35% of the sun as seen from Northern Ireland and Scotland, and the percentage will drop to about 20% in southeast England.
To view the event, specially approved solar eclipse glasses are needed, which reduce sunlight to safe levels, as looking directly at the sun can cause serious irreversible eye damage.
And while Thursday’s event can be frustrating, even for those who see it in the best of circumstances, Milligan urges anyone with a sense of adventure to try and witness a total solar eclipse at some point in their lives.
The next event will be on December 4 this year. Unfortunately, it will only be visible from Antarctica.
The United States, Mexico and Canada will witness another total solar eclipse in 2024, only seven years after one eclipse in 2017 that was visible only from the United States, and was considered the most watched event in human history.
Spain will host a total solar eclipse in 2026, which will appear again as a partial eclipse from the United Kingdom.
Source: Science Alert