Total and Partial Eclipses Are Understood, So What Is an Annular Eclipse?

You decide to admire the total eclipse of the sun in August 2017 and you’ve organized your eclipse safety glasses to keep your eyes protected from direct sunlight; so what if somebody asks you about partial eclipses and annular solar eclipses?

The Health Before the Science

Any viewing of a total or partial eclipse or an annular eclipse should only ever be viewed through eclipse safety glasses. The sun and its UV radiation is too strong for your eyes to view directly. Just a few moments of UV radiation entering your eyes could damage your retina and perhaps leave you blinded for life. Take no chances and your annular eclipse will become most enjoyable.

Sort Out the Science Second

To explain what an annular eclipse is, you should first imagine the sight of the moon covering the center of the sun in a direct line between where you are on earth – and the sun. The edges of the sun will be visible and will appear like a flame, known as an annulus, around the edge of the moon; hence the name; an annular solar eclipse.

During this eclipse, when you are wearing your eclipse safety glasses to prevent damage from your eyes looking directly at the sun, even if part of it is covered by the moon, should you not be in direct line to the sun, you may experience a partial annular eclipse.

What Are the Rules for Annular Solar Eclipses?

They can only take place when the moon is new and it is perfectly located at or near a lunar node. There must also be a flawlessly aligned direct line between the earth, the moon and the sun.

Although the rules confirm that a new moon is required to see an annular solar eclipse, this does not occur every time a new moon arises. The moon’s orbital route around the Earth is inclined at a 5% angle, in comparison to the orbital plane that the earth travels around the sun. As the orbital planes join, they are known as lunar nodes.

The distances between the sun and the earth and that of the Earth from the Moon will change during every month of the calendar year.

There are several phases of an annular solar eclipse and as you watch the moon completely blocking the center of the sun, please remember to wear your eclipse safety vision so that your eyes will remain pleased to see the next annular solar eclipse when it is due. A quick Internet search will show you when the next annular solar eclipse is due and by adding the name of your local city, the calculation can be completed for you.

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