Sunday 16 April 2023

Hybrid Solar Eclipse to be visible from Western Australia, East Timor, and parts of Indonesia.

A solar eclipse will be visible from parts of from Western Australia, East Timor on Thursday 20 April 2023. This will be a Hybrid Eclipse, a tern used to refer to an eclipse which will appear to be total (with the Moon completely blocking out the Sun) along part of its path, but annular (with the Moon directly in front of the Sun, but a ring of Sun visible all around the Moon) in other places. A partial eclipse (in which the Moon only covers part of the Sun) will be visible from other parts of Australia and Indonesia, as well as parts of Southeast Asia, South China, Taiwan, southern Japan, the Philippines, northern New Zealand, and the islands of the West Pacific. The event will occur between 1.36 and 6.59 am GMT, although local start and end times will vary within this window.

Animation following the eclipse shadow from west to east, its point of view moving around the planet at a greater speed than Earth's rotation. If you don't take into account this rapid change of perspective, it may look like Earth is spinning in the wrong direction. Time and Date.

Eclipses are a product of the way the Earth, Moon and Sun move about one-another. The Moon orbits the Earth every 28 days, while the Earth orbits the Sun every 365 days, and because the two Sun and Moon appear roughly the same size when seen from Earth, it is quite possible for the Moon to block out the light of the Sun. At first sight this would seem likely to happen every month at the New Moon, when the Moon is on the same side of the Earth as the Sun, and therefore invisible (the Moon produced no light of its own, when we see the Moon, we are seeing reflected sunlight, but this can only happen when we can see parts of the Moon illuminated by the Sun).

The relative positions of the Sun, Moon and Earth during a Solar eclipse. Starry Night.

However, the Moon does not orbit in quite the same plane as the Earth orbits the Sun, so the Eclipses only occur when the two orbital planes cross one-another; this typically happens two or three times a year, and always at the New Moon. During Total Eclipses the Moon entirely blocks the light of the Sun, however most Eclipses are Partial, the Moon only partially blocks the light of the Sun.

How the differing inclinations of the Earth and Moon's orbits prevent us having an eclipse every 28 days. Starry Skies.

Although the light of the Sun is reduced during an Eclipse, it is still extremely dangerous to look directly at the Sun, and viewing eclipses should not be undertaken without appropriate equipment.

The path of the 20 April 2023 Solar Eclipse. The outermost red contour on the map above traces where in the world the eclipse will be visible – i.e., where the Moon will cover any part of the Sun's disk. Within this, the thinner red contours show where the Moon will cover at least 20%, 40%, 60% and 80% of the Sun at the moment of greatest eclipse. The central red (total) and blue (annular) lines show the narrow track where the hybrid eclipse will be visible. In-The-Sky/Hill Top Views.

See also...

Follow Sciency Thoughts on Facebook.

Follow Sciency Thoughts on Twitter.