Partial solar eclipse August 2018: A partial solar eclipse will take place this month on August 11. The eclipse will be visible during the early hours of the day and is expected to be seen over major parts of the Northern Hemisphere. For those who will get to witness the entire event, the partial solar eclipse will last for a duration of 3 hours and 30 mins.
A Solar eclipse is a celestial phenomenon that occurs when the Moon, the Sun and the Earth are aligned in a straight line. While in a lunar eclipse, the Earth comes in between the Moon and the Sun, a solar eclipse will see the Moon positioned between the Earth and the Sun. In the case of a total lunar eclipse, the Earth’s shadow is large enough to block sunlight from reaching the Moon, thereby casting a shadow on it. On the other hand, when the Moon covers the Sun, it is called a total solar eclipse.
A partial solar eclipse takes place when the Moon covers some part of the Sun. This could then lead to the Sun appearing as a crescent, or as a disk with a hollow centre for some duration of the eclipse. The nature of the eclipse will differ from location to location on the Earth, as well as the precise alignment of all three celestial bodies.
Due to the smaller shadow of the Moon, much of the Sun will be visible. This, however, will only persist for select parts of the Earth, as the Earth’s rotation will expose a limited area to the effects of the partial solar eclipse.
The August 11 eclipse, therefore, will only be visible in the northern parts of the Northern Hemisphere, and some parts of China. As per a GIF created by NASA, this partial solar eclipse will be visible over northern Canada, north-eastern US, Greenland, Scandinavia, most of Siberia and some parts of central Asia. The partial solar eclipse will not be visible in India.
In addition, a Goddard Space Flight Centre (GSFC) map created by NASA to trace the path of this eclipse shows that the partial solar eclipse on August 11 will be at its greatest over the eastern reaches of Siberia. This also shows that over the North Pole, observers will be able to view over 65 per cent of the eclipse.
The partial solar eclipse will begin from around 9.02am GMT (1.32 pm IST), and will play out over the skies of North America and Greenland. The entire event will last till 12.32 pm GMT (5.02 pm IST). The previous partial solar eclipse, which took place on July 13, was only visible in parts of Antarctica, Australia and New Zealand.
Even if the partial solar eclipse is not visible in India, it is likely that the event could be live-streamed by an observatory or space agency. For those observers who will witness the eclipse first hand, it is worth noting that it is unsafe to observe any solar eclipse, given the intensity of the radiation, and the possible exposure to ultraviolet or infrared light. Therefore, the partial solar eclipse can be caught using glasses having special filters, or through a pinhole camera.