This Sunday, be sure to step outside with some proper eye protection and gaze upon the burning ring of fire. According to timeandate.com, the show is set to begin at 2.33pm with the maximum eclipse at 4.06pm for celestial observers in China.
This type of solar eclipse takes place when the new moon is at its ‘apogee’ or, in layman’s terms, the furthest point from Earth. Once a year, the Earth, moon and sun form a straight line and the moon blocks out the sun for a few minutes. This year, we are among the fortunate to see it block over 99% of the sun’s rays and, for a moment, we will see a phenomenon called the ‘Ring of Fire.’
As the moon is at the apex of its trajectory through the sky, a partial eclipse will begin with the moon covering the bottom right corner of the sun and then, after reaching maximum coverage at the center of the sun, the moon will make a pass across and leave the field of view from the top of the sun.
A map of the eclipse shadow path. Image via timeanddate.com
We plead with you, our beloved readers, never look directly at the sun, even while it is mostly hidden by the moon during Sunday’s eclipse. Looking directly at the sun, or using an improper device to view the eclipse, can result in permanent eye damage and blindness. According to NASA, even very dark sunglasses allow thousands of times too much sunlight through to safely watch an eclipse.
For those of us who are not in possession of ISO-rated eclipse-viewing glasses or a welding shield with a higher Shade than 12, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has instructions for making a pinhole camera with card stock paper, aluminum foil and tape.
Alternatively, a livestream of the 2020 ring of fire eclipse can be watched at timeanddate.com.
[Cover image via @六域掌门/Weibo]