The first of this year’s celestial sights that can be seen in the skies is right around the corner. On January 6 (Sunday) the first partial solar eclipse of the year will take place.
The eclipse will be partial as the alignment between the Sun and the Moon will not be very exact, and as a result the Moon will not cover the Sun completely.
It will be visible in parts of North-East Asia and the Pacific Ocean including China, part of Siberia in Russia, Korean peninsula, and Japan.
The eclipse will take place for nearly five hours, starting at around 5 am in the morning and lasting till 9 am. However, it won’t be visible in India.
It will start near Beijing and slowly move northeast toward Alaska, where only the state’s westernmost islands will be able to see the eclipse before the sun sets.
To know more about the trajectory of the eclipse, Nasa has created an interactive eclipse path using Google Maps.
The partial solar eclipse will be visible within the eclipse viewing area, but must be watched with proper eye protection.
Observing the Sun can be harmful for the eyes if not done with the right safety equipment. The Sun is the brightest object in the sky, and looking directly at it can cause permanent eye damage within seconds. Viewing it through any optical instrument – even a pair of binoculars or the finder-scope on the side of your telescope – can cause instant and permanent blindness.
The best way to safely watch a total solar eclipse is to wear protective eclipse glasses or to project an image of the eclipsed Sun using a pinhole projector.
If the astronomer in you is interested, watch the video streaming of the partial solar eclipse here.
When is the next eclipse?
This partial solar eclipse is the first of six that will occur in 2019. A total lunar eclipse also known as the ‘Super Blood Wolf Moon’ will occur on January 20-21, depending on where you view from in North and South America, or western Europe. However, the highlight of the year will be the total solar eclipse on July 2, 2019, which will occur over the South Pacific, Chile and Argentina.