A partial solar eclipse will be visible in India along with several other countries just after Christmas day, on December 26. This will be an annular solar eclipse in some parts of India and elsewhere which happens when the moon covers the sun's centre, leaving the sun's visible outer edges to form a "ring of fire" or annulus - around the moon.
Here are five important things to know about this eclipse.
1. An annular solar eclipse happens when a new moon is farthest away from the Earth, and this appears smaller in the sky. Therefore, when the moon is in line between the sun and the Earth, it will cover the centre of the sun, and not cover it fully, resulting in a partial eclipse and the ‘ring of light’ effect.
2. The maximum obstruction of the sun during the eclipse when seen from different cities of India will be 89.4% in Bengaluru, 84.6% in Chennai, 78.8% in Mumbai, 74.3% in Hyderabad, 66% in Ahmedabad and 44.7% in Delhi, 45.1% in Kolkata, the Birla Industrial and Technological Museum (BITM) said.
The ring of fire will not be seen from all places in India but from places like Kannur in Kerala and along the southern coast of the country, a BITM official explained.
3. According to Norway-based timeanddate.com the annular eclipse will begin in India at 7.59 am. It will be a partial eclipse then, and the annular eclipse itself will start at 9:04 am. The maximum eclipse will reportedly be observed at 10:47 am when the moon is nearest to the sun’s centre. The full eclipse will last around three hours.
It will be visible in many places in south India like Mangaluru in Karnataka, Dindigul, Erode, Karur and Ootacamund in Tamil Nadu, Thalassery, Palakkad and Kasaragod in Kerala, among others. Meanwhile Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai will see a partial eclipse.
4. Apart from India, the eclipse will be visible in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Northern Mariana Islands and Guam. According to reports, the solar eclipse will start around 180 kilometres west of Dammam in Saudi Arabia. Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu will be the first city to witness the eclipse.
5. If you are planning to watch the solar eclipse, make sure you protect your eyes with protective solar eclipse glasses, and are not looking at the sun or the sky directly.
A solar eclipse usually occurs about two weeks before a lunar eclipse. And the first lunar eclipse of 2020 is happening on January 10, 2020.