New Delhi: Much to the delight of the skywatchers, the world will get to witness a partial solar eclipse or Aanshik Surya Grahan on August 11, Saturday. In total solar eclipse, the Moon moves between the Sun and the Earth, blocking out the Sun’s rays and casting a shadow on parts of Earth and this hides the sun completely for some time; but in a partial solar eclipse, the Sun, Moon and Earth are not exactly lined and the Moon only partly obscures the Sun’s disk and casts only its penumbra on the Earth. So, the skywatchers will be able to see sun in a crescent shape during partial solar eclipse.
What is a partial solar eclipse? How does it differ from a total solar eclipse?
An eclipse is a celestial phenomenon which takes place when the Sun, Moon, and Earth are aligned in a straight line. In a solar eclipse, it is in the Moon which blocks the Sun’s path and stops the sunlight from reaching the Earth. During a total solar eclipse, it turns dark during the day, and temperatures can fall, since the Sun is completely blocked by the Moon.
This is also the reason why a total solar eclipse has inspired so much superstition and fear, given that it turns dark during the day.
However, when the Moon covers a certain portion of the Sun, it is known as a partial solar eclipse. During a partial solar eclipse, the Sun appears as a disk or in a crescent shape, the nature of which may differ according to the location on Earth and the alignment of the three bodies.
The partial solar eclipse, expected to play out over the early hours of August 11, will be visible from some regions of the Earth. NASA has created a Goddard Space Flight Centre (GSFC) map to showcase the path of this eclipse. According to this map, the solar eclipse will be at its greatest over the eastern reaches of Siberia and the North Pole observers will be able to view over 65 per cent of the eclipse.
People cannot watch the partial solar eclipse with their bare eyes. There are specific glasses available in the market which people can purchase to experience the natural phenomenon without damaging their eyes. The partial solar eclipse requires the same precautions as a total solar eclipse. Pinhole cameras, and special solar eclipse protection glasses are recommended to avoid any damage to the eyes.