Tomorrow parts of the world will be treated to a partial solar eclipse as the moon, sun, and Earth line up in such a way that from our perspective, the moon takes a chunk out of the sun.
Throughout the day here on Earth, the moon will block out up to 85 percent of the sun in some countries as our planet passes through the outer part of the moon’s shadow (called the “penumbra”).
Starting at 6:40 a.m. UT in Algeria and ending at 11 a.m. in China, many of Europe’s capital cities and parts of the Middle East will have 50 percent of the sun blotted out. The further north in Europe, the bigger the shadow, and at the maximum eclipse — 8:50 a.m. — Scandinavian countries will see 85 percent of the sun covered.
In the U.S., we’ll miss the partial solar eclipse, but here’s what makes this unique, and what we have to look forward to.
Normally multiple types of solar eclipses pack into one year — I was surprised to learn that from Earth we can often see partial, total, and annual (when the moon covers only the center part of the sun) eclipses all in one year. This year is the first since 1982 and the last until 2029 in which we’ll have only partial eclipses.
According to NASA’s eclipse website, the next partial solar eclipse will be June 1, 2011 and we’ll see a total lunar eclipse on June 15. In the summer of 2017, we will be treated to a full solar eclipse in the U.S. — the last time a total solar eclipse was visible from the contiguous united states was 1979.