This year has been filled with rare astronomical events, and we are about to see a few more. This June, we will get a chance to see both a solar and lunar eclipse. The first will be the lunar eclipse, which will happen on June 5th, and after that will come the solar eclipse, which will happen on June 21st.
For those of you who don’t know, a solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, which totally or partly blocks out the Sun for a viewer on Earth. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon’s apparent diameter is smaller than the Sun’s, blocking most of the Sun’s light and causing the Sun to look like an annulus, or ring.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon moves into the Earth’s shadow. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are exactly or very closely aligned (in syzygy), with Earth between the other two. A lunar eclipse can occur only on the night of a full moon. The type and length of a lunar eclipse depend on the Moon’s proximity to either node of its orbit.
During a total lunar eclipse, Earth completely blocks direct sunlight from reaching the Moon. The only light reflected from the lunar surface has been refracted by Earth’s atmosphere. This light appears reddish for the same reason that a sunset or sunrise does: the Rayleigh scattering of bluer light. Due to this reddish color, a totally eclipsed Moon is sometimes called a blood moon.
Unlike a solar eclipse, which can only be viewed from a relatively small area of the world, a lunar eclipse may be viewed from anywhere on the night side of Earth. A total lunar eclipse can last up to nearly 2 hours, while a total solar eclipse lasts only up to a few minutes at any given place, due to the smaller size of the Moon’s shadow. Also unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safe to view without any eye protection or special precautions, as they are dimmer than the full Moon.
With a solar eclipse, it is very important to use eye protection because staring at the sun, especially under eclipse conditions, could lead to serious eye damage. Average sunglasses will not work either, special eclipse glasses are needed to view this rare event.
This year we’ll have a total of six eclipses, four lunar and two solar. The lunar eclipses will all be partial and the solar eclipses will be an annular eclipse on June 21st and a total eclipse on December 14th.
June’s Penumbral lunar eclipse will visible from most of Asia and Europe, Australia, Africa, Antarctica, and South America’s southwest region. The eclipse will begin on the 5th of June at UTC 17:45:51, then reach its peak at 19:24:55 and end at 19:24:55.
The solar eclipse will be visible on June 21st and peak at UTC 12:10 am on June 21st. The total length of the eclipse is 3 hours, 18 minutes.