Tuesday, 28 September, 2021

Solar eclipse: Skies set to darken across NI on Thursday

Solar eclipse to be visible in Derry today The partial solar eclipse will take place today
Cary Erickson | 10 June, 2021, 14:17

Dig out those super-safe sun safety-glasses kept at the back of the cupboard since 1999, turn your eyes skywards and look out tomorrow (Thursday, June 10) for a partial solar eclipse. But, no one should simply gaze upward at a solar eclipse (unless the Sun is completely covered by the Moon during totality, which is NOT happening this time). The total eclipse may last only a short period of time, and if you are looking towards the sun as the moon moves away from blocking the sun, you might get a solar burn on your retina which can cause permanent damage to your eyes.

An annular eclipse occurs when the sun and moon are exactly in line with the Earth, but the apparent size of the moon is smaller than that of the sun. In places that fall directly along the eclipse's path, in this case parts of Canada, Greenland and northern Russian Federation, skywatchers will see an annular eclipse - when the Moon blocks out all of the sun except its fiery outer edges, earning it the name "ring of fire". While an annular eclipse is only visible in a narrow strip along the surface of our planet, where the moon aligns perfectly with the sun, observers in a much wider area can see part of the sun blocked by the moon.

People are being told not to look directly into the sun through any optical equipment as this could damage eye sight.

Although this won't be quite as spectacular as a total solar eclipse, it will still be mesmerising to watch. During this eclipse, people on the south coast will see a ring of fire in the sky for almost four minutes just before sunset.

The partial eclipse will start around 11.20am and will be at its peak an hour later.

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Tomorrow the top of the sun only will be covered in shadow.

For the lucky in-person viewers, the Sun will appear a little dimmer than usual. "For a sunrise eclipse, you need a position with a clear view to the horizon, like a hilltop or tall building". The sun's distinct coloration at dawn and dusk is due to the fact that sunlight must pass through more of the atmosphere to reach our eyes than when we see it at high noon.

Particles in Earth's atmosphere can also affect the sun's colors.

In addition, the rising sun may appear larger to our eyes than it actually is.

It is also not wise not to look at the Sun through binoculars, telescopes or a telephoto lens on an SLR camera. The next solar eclipse of any kind in Europe is on October 25 next year. But that phenomenon will be visible only in Antarctica, and partially so in South Africa and the South Atlantic, according to NASA.