The next solar eclipse will occur on Friday, May 10 (or Thursday, depending on where you are in the world), but will everybody be able to see the spectacular event commonly known as “The Ring of Fire”? Residents of Australia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Gilbert Islands will all have a front seat view of the annual eclipse. But will you be able to see it?
Fortunately, everyone with access to the internet will be able to view the annual eclipse due to the Slooh Space Camera. Slooh will broadcast the eclipse along with a live commentary with expert views on Thursday beginning at 5:30 EDT at Space.com. No need to build a cardboard device or wear special glasses to turn your eyes towards the sun, just set your alarm tune in.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, partially blocking the Sun, not to be confused with a lunar eclipse, which is when the moon passes behind the Earth, in the shadow of the Earth. Therefore, with a solar eclipse, the lineup
is Sun, Moon, Earth; whereas with a lunar eclipse, the lineup is Sun, Earth, Moon.
A solar eclipse is a natural phenomenon occurring at new moon when the Sun and Moon are in conjunction (a terminology of perspective, seen by the naked eye). There are four different types of solar eclipses: total eclipse, annular eclipse, hybrid eclipse (annular/total eclipse), and partial eclipse.
- Total Eclipse – Occurs when the Moon completely obscures the Sun
- Last – November 13, 2012
- Next – March 20, 2015
- Annular Eclipse – Occurs when the Moon comes between the Sun and the Earth ; the Moon appears to be much smaller than the sun and the sun appears to be a “Ring of Fire”
- Last – May 20, 2012
- Next – May 10, 2013
- Hybrid Eclipse (Annular/Total Eclipse) – Occurs when there is a shift between an annual and a total eclipse. This is a very rare occurrence; at some points on Earth, it appears to be a total eclipse, at others an annular.
- April 8, 2005
- November 3, 2013
- Partial Eclipse – Occurs when the Sun and the Moon are only partially in line and the Moon only moderately occults the Sun.
- November 25, 2011
- October 23, 2014
Of course, if you are lucky enough to be in an area where you will be viewing the solar eclipse outside, protect your eyes and never look directly at the sun. If trying to take pictures of the spectacular scene, use the proper lenses and filters.
By Dawn Cranfield