Year's first partial solar eclipse today (File Photo)
With the first solar eclipse of 2019 just a few days away, sky watchers around much of the world are waiting eagerly to take a glimpse of the spectacular natural phenomenon of the universe. The first solar eclipse of the year will take place on Sunday i.e. January 6, 2019. This eclipse is a partial one and will be visible in parts of Russia, North-East Asia, north Pacific, China, Korean peninsula, and Japan. Astronomy enthusiasts in India will be deprived of the mind-boggling site.
When and where to watch:
The partial solar eclipse on January 6 will occur around 23:34:08 in UTC, which stands for Coordinated Universal Time, and last till 03:48:46 UTC. In India, the relevant timings will be around 5 am to 9 am in the morning. In Japan, the timings for partial solar eclipse translate to around 8.30 am in the morning with the peak being at 10.41 am for the event. However, NASA is yet to highlight the duration of the partial solar eclipse in its calendar, which tracks nearly all solar and lunar eclipses for the coming decades.
What is partial solar eclipse?
During a partial solar eclipse or Surya Grahan, the Moon covers a certain portion of the Sun giving it a crescent or disk like shape with a hollow centre. While total solar eclipse is a rare historical phenomenon, partial solar eclipses occur every six months or so.
Few things to keep in mind before going to see partial solar eclipse:
- Do not look into the sun with naked eyes, it can permanently damage the retina.
- Do not use binoculars for watching the sun, even that can be hazardous.
- Do not use sunglasses to watch the sun. It can cause a permanent eye damage.
- Use special protective eyewear whenever you go out in open.
In total, the year 2019 will witness five solar and lunar eclipses, two of which will be visible in India, Dr Rajendraprakash Gupt, Superintendent of the Ujjain-based Jiwaji Observatory told PTI.
On January 21, a total lunar eclipse will take place which too would not be visible in India as it would be daytime in the country. It will be visible in Central Pacific, Americas, Europe, and Africa. Similarly, a total solar eclipse slated for July 2-3 will occur at night in India and, therefore, would not be visible in the country.
A partial lunar eclipse set to take place on July 16-17 will be visible in India along with an annular (ring-shaped) solar eclipse on December 26. The year 2019 is significant as it will also witness a transit of Mercury in November, when the planet appears to cross the Sun. The transit of Mercury takes place once in every 13 years.
In 2018, sky gazers have witnessed a total of five eclipses, two of which were total lunar eclipses and three were partial solar eclipses.