An Upcoming Solar Eclipse Oct 23, 2013
Magical seems like the only word that can describe phenomenons such as eclipses. Yet, we know that there is nothing magical about it, it is merely the beauty of the universe at work and can be explained using scientific rationale. Nevertheless, eclipses are breathtaking to witness and so fleeting that it is hard to believe it actually happened. On Sunday November 3rd from 6:58 a.m. to 7:11 a.m. (EST), we will have a chance to observe a partial solar eclipse. However, be careful since this is the same day that we switch our clock back to standard time! So if you are hoping to watch the eclipse, make sure your alarm is set on standard time to avoid sleeping through it.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth. The moon’s shadow falls on the earth, covering a part of the sun. If it’s the moon’s penumbra (outer shadow) that strikes the earth, it obscurs part of the sun, thereby causing a partial eclipse. And if it’s the moon’s umbra (dark inner shadow), it covers the whole of the sun, causing a total eclipse.
The upcoming eclipse is particulary interesting since it’s a hybrid. This means that it’s a cross between an annular eclipse (where a ring of the sun is visible) and a total eclipse.
Partial solar eclipses can be dangerous since the majority of the sun is still visible. Even in the morning, the sun could be too bright to look at directly. It might be a good idea to use solar filters.
People living in Africa, near the border between Ethiopia and Somalia, will have the chance to experience a few seconds of a total eclipse. Lucky ducks. For us here in Canada, we will only have a partial eclipse, and it will look like there’s a chunk missing from the sun. Unfortunately, in Oakville there’s just 10% coverage, so it will only be a small chunk. But a chunk nonetheless! So, make sure you take some time out of the first weekend of November to experience the marvel of the solar eclipse, because there is nothing more enchanting than the workings of the universe.
By: Mila Urosevic