Surya Grahan 2019/Solar Eclipse 2019: The annual solar eclipse was witnessed across parts of the world on Thursday, wherein the Sun appeared as a 'ring of fire' in the morning sky. According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the annular 'Surya Grahan' occurred after sunrise on 26 December, from 9 am to 12:29 pm. The annual solar eclipse, however, was only visible in the southern states of India. While people from Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu saw the annular solar eclipse, the rest of the country saw it as a partial solar eclipse.
What is Solar Eclipse?
A solar eclipse occurs when a portion of the Earth is engulfed in a shadow cast by the Moon which fully or partially blocks sunlight. This occurs when the Sun, Moon and Earth are aligned. Such alignment coincides with a new moon (syzygy) indicating the Moon is closest to the ecliptic plane. In a total eclipse, the disk of the Sun is fully obscured by the Moon. In partial and annular eclipses, only part of the Sun is obscured.
If the Moon were in a perfectly circular orbit, a little closer to the Earth, and in the same orbital plane, there would be total solar eclipses every new moon. However, since the Moon's orbit is tilted at more than 5 degrees to the Earth's orbit around the Sun, its shadow usually misses Earth.
A solar eclipse can only occur when the Moon is close enough to the ecliptic plane during a new moon. Special conditions must occur for the two events to coincide because the Moon's orbit crosses the ecliptic at its orbital nodes twice every draconic month (27.212220 days) while a new moon occurs one every synodic month (29.530587981 days).
Solar (and lunar) eclipses, therefore, happen only during eclipse seasons resulting in at least two, and up to five, solar eclipses each year; no more than two of which can be total eclipses.
What happens during a Solar Eclipse?
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves in front of the Sun as seen from a location on Earth. During a solar eclipse, it gets dimmer and dimmer outside as more and more of the Sun is covered by the Moon. During a total eclipse, the entire Sun is covered for a few minutes and it becomes very dark outside.
Where was the Solar Eclipse visible?
Some of the best views of the Solar Eclipse 2019 were taken in Bangalore, where the obscuration of the sun by the moon at the time of the greatest phase of the partial eclipse remained around 90 per cent. Other than Bangalore, the Solar Eclipse was 85 per cent visible in Chennai, 79 per cent in Mumbai and 70 per cent in Port Blair.
This started decreasing towards the north and eastern parts, with only 45 per cent in Kolkata and Delhi, 42 per cent in Patna, 33 per cent in Guwahati and 35 percent in Silchar.
The eclipse was also visible in other countries including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, UAE, the northern part of Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, and Borneo.
What time did Solar Eclipse begin?
According to scientists, the partial phase of the eclipse began at 8 am, but the annular phase began only an hour later, at 9:06 am and end at 12:29 pm. The partial phase will end at 1:36 pm.
How to watch Solar Eclipse?
Safe viewing equipment and proper techniques should be used to view the celestial event as the infrared and ultraviolet rays of the Sun can cause severe retinal damage, a senior astronomer has said. One should not look at the Sun directly for even a little period without proper protection. Even when 99 per cent of the surface of the Sun is covered by the moon during the partial eclipse, the remaining light is still intense enough to damage the eye.
Proper solar filters with certified appropriate optical density against radiation that are safe to the eyes should be used in front of optical devices and the naked eye. Aluminised mylar films of approved thickness coated with black polymer are the safest for use in solar goggles that one generally uses for eclipse viewing.
Welders glass number 14 is a safe material as a solar filter for direct viewing of the solar disc, researchers have said. The best method, however, to view the solar eclipse will be to use a pinhole camera or a telescopic projection on a suitable surface.
Use of unsafe filters like smoked glass, polarizing filter, sunglasses, photographic neutral density filters, colour films are not advised to view the solar phenomenon.
Solar Eclipse LIVE
Skygazers watched Solar Eclipse LIVE on a number of platforms. In India, YouTube channel CosmoSapiens live-streamed the event starting 7 am IST. Other than this, Canary Islands-based Slooh Observatory live-streamed solar eclipse 2019 on its YouTube channel. Sri Lanka's Tharulowa Digital also live-streamed Solar Eclipse 2019 on its YouTube channel beginning 7 am IST.
When does a Solar Eclipse occur?
A solar eclipse occurs on a new moon day when the moon comes in between the Earth and the Sun and when all the three are aligned. However, scientists advise that it should not be viewed with the naked eye, even for a very short time, as it could lead to permanent damage to the eyes.
Why are Solar Eclipses so rare?
Total solar eclipses are rare at any particular location because totality exists only along a narrow path on the Earth's surface traced by the Moon's full shadow or umbra. An eclipse is a natural phenomenon.