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Solar Eclipse 2023: Will the rare 'hybrid' celestial event witnessed in India? All you need to know

Solar Eclipse 2023: The rare ‘hybrid’ solar eclipse will occur but unfortunately, it won’t be visible in India. Still confused! Don't worry. We have broken down in simple words. Read here.

Ajeet Kumar Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 New Delhi Updated on: April 20, 2023 9:22 IST
People watching the solar eclipse.
Image Source : AP/NASA People watching the solar eclipse.

Solar Eclipse 2023:  In the rarest of the rare occurrence, a "hybrid solar eclipse" is set to take place on April 20. It means the world has a chance to witness both a total eclipse and an annular eclipse. This would make the sky completely dark for moments and subsequently, create a "ring of fire" effect. 

Still confused! Don't worry. We will break it down in simple words.

Solar eclipses occur when the Sun, the Moon, and Earth line up, either fully or partially. However, it is dependent on how they align. It provides a unique, exciting view of either the Sun or the Moon.

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth. This creates a shadow on Earth, thus blocking the sunlight either fully or partially. 

However, this only happens occasionally, because the Moon doesn't orbit in the exact same plane as the Sun and Earth do. The time when they are aligned is known as eclipse season, which happens twice a year.

But this time, the world has a golden opportunity to witness a hybrid solar eclipse-- a combination of total solar eclipse, and annular solar eclipse. So, what is the difference between the two? 

What is Total Solar Eclipse?

A total solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, completely blocking the face of the Sun. People located in the centre of the Moon’s shadow when it hits Earth will experience a total eclipse. The sky will darken as if it were dawn or dusk. 

Annular Solar Eclipse

Whereas, during an annular solar eclipse, the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, but when it is at or near its farthest point from Earth. Because the Moon is farther away from Earth, it appears smaller than the Sun and does not completely cover the Sun.

As a result, the Moon appears as a dark disk on top of a larger, bright disk, creating what looks like a ring around the Moon. This occurrence is called a "ring of fire".

Hybrid Solar Eclipse

Because Earth's surface is curved, sometimes an eclipse can shift between annular and total as the Moon’s shadow moves across the globe. This is called a hybrid solar eclipse.

Won’t be visible in India

Unfortunately, Indians, willing to watch this rare event, can not witness the rare occurrence. In fact, the total solar eclipse will only be visible from some parts of Australia. 

According to former NASA astrophysicist and eclipse expert Fred Espenak, the Hybrid Solar Eclipse is visible from the following geographic regions:

  • Partial Eclipse: southeast Asia, East Indies, Australia, Philippines, New Zealand
  • Hybrid Eclipse: Australia, Timor-Leste, Indonesia (West Papua and Papua)

The instant of the greatest eclipse takes place at 04:17:56 TD (04:16:45 UT1)-- which means from 3.34 AM IST on April 20 to 6.32 AM.

How to watch?

If you are not present in western Australia at the time of the eclipse, you can still view it, thanks to live streaming technology. Here is the link to watch live.

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