Lucky sky-watchers around the South Pacific may get to witness an event for the first time since 1974. Superstitions may take a day off this Friday the 13th as a supermoon delivering a partial solar eclipse will be witnessed after a gap of 44 years.
Earth comes between the Sun and the moon every month. An eclipse of the sun in which the moon does not completely hide the solar surface or photosphere so that some direct rays of sunlight reach the observer is a partial solar eclipse.
Friday the 13th is considered an inauspicious date in popular culture, however, this July it will showcase a rare event as there has not been a solar eclipse on Friday the 13th since December 13, 1974, according to NASA. Not only this the next partial eclipse to occur on Friday the 13th will be on September 13, 2080.
Image shows our planet's Moon as seen from the International Space Station (Credit: NASA)
The Moon doesn't move in a perfect circle around Earth, its orbit is more of an ellipse or oval. At its farthest point, the apogee, it appears slightly smaller from Earth; at its closest point, or perigee, it appears slightly bigger.
This, too, happens roughly once every 28 days. But when the perigee happens during a New (completely dark) or Full (completely lit) Moon, we get a supermoon!
People who are planning to view the partial eclipse should make sure to wear proper glasses to protect their eyes from the sun. And for those taking pictures of the July 13 eclipse with smartphones, there are different tips and tricks to make sure you do so safely.
People in Tasmania, an island off the southern coast of Australia, will most likely get the best view of the July 13 eclipse, which is expected to last one hour and four minutes. The best place to see it may be in Hobart, Tasmania, where about 35% of the sun’s diameter will be covered by the moon at 1:24 p.m. local time.
Even though the Southern Ocean will get the best view of the July 13 eclipse, there will be another chance to see a partial solar eclipse this summer on the opposite end of the world. Northern parts of China, Russia, Eastern Europe the U.K, Sweden, Norway and Finland will be able to see the moon partially block the sun on August 11.