Solstice ring of fire solar eclipse, June 21, 2020

Silchar, June 20 : A rare celestial event, annular solar eclipse, popularly called as ring of fire eclipse will be visible this Sunday. The first solar eclipse of this year takes place on the summer solstice, which is the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere. While people living along the path annular eclipse passing through Anupgarh, Suratgarh, Sirsa, Jakhal, Kurukshetra, Yamunanagar, Dehradun, Tapowan and Joshimath will be able to see the annular phase, people in rest of India can witness a partial eclipse.

“Solar eclipse on June 21 will be an annular eclipse. It will be visible to entire India as partial eclipse and as an annular eclipse to three states, including Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Haryana. It will start at around 10:20 a.m. and end around 2:20 p.m” the Deputy Director of Pathani Samanta Planetarium, Bhubaneswar, S Pattnaik said on Friday.

In all solar eclipse the Sun, Moon and Earth may not be perfectly aligned, and then we only have a partial eclipse.

“Annular solar eclipse is a particular case of the total solar eclipse. Like the total solar eclipse, the Moon is aligned with the Sun. However, on that day, the apparent size of the Moon happens to be a wee smaller than the Sun.  Hence the Moon covers the central part of the Sun, and the rim of the Sun appear like a ‘ring of fire’ in the sky for a very brief moment” explains Samir Dhurde of The Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune.

At the onset of the solar eclipse, Sun gives a characteristic appearance of a bitten apple. A small part of the Sun is covered by the disc of the Moon. After that, slowly and steadily the disc of the Moon embraces larger and larger part of the Sun. On a narrow track that the Moon’s shadow traces on Earth during an annular solar eclipse, people can see the Moon traversing on the Sun and covering the central part. As the Moon is not able to block out the entire Sun, a bright ring of sunlight around the Moon will be visible. This is how this type of eclipse earned the nickname the “ring of fire” eclipse.

“If we miss this opportunity, in India we have to wait for about 28 months for the next solar eclipse.  The next solar eclipse , which will be a partial solar eclipse, visible from India will take place on October 25, 2022. It would be visible in the western part of India” said Aniket Sule, Chairperson, Public Outreach & Education Committee of the Astronomical Society of India.

Sun is a very bright object, and looking at it directly can cause severe damage to the eye and vision. There are special goggles made for looking at the Sun.  These goggles filter the sunlight for safe viewing.

Bhuj will be the first town in India to see the beginning of the eclipse 9:58 a.m.  The eclipse ends 4 hours later at Dibrugarh, Assam at 2:29 p.m. Ghersana at the western boundary of India will be the first to witness the annular phase of the eclipse at 11:50 a.m. It will last for 30 seconds. Kalanka peak in Uttarakhand will be the last major landmark to see the annular eclipse at 12:10 p.m. lasting for 28 seconds.

Some of the sites where partial eclipse will be seen

Dibrugarh     Begins- 11:07 AM      Maximum- 12:54 PM     Ends-  2:29 PM       %Cover –  89       

Gawahati     Begins- 10:57 AM     Maximum-  12:45 PM      Ends-  2:24 PM        %Cover – 84     

Shilong        Begins- 10:57 AM      Maximum- 12:46 PM       Ends- 2:24 PM        %Cover- 83       

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