Photo Credit: NASA/ Hinode/ XRT
Solar Eclipse 2020 or surya grahan is here. Skywatchers across India will witness the rare annular solar eclipse today. While the partial solar eclipse will be visible across the country, eclipse's best visibility or maximum eclipse will be limited to a narrow stretch covering parts of Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. Annular eclipses are known for their “ring of fire” display as Moon while passing through between Earth and Sun isn't close enough to our planet to completely cover sunlight. Astronomers are calling today's eclipse “the most dramatic ring of fire” solar eclipse in years.
According to NASA, today's solar eclipse will start at 9:15am IST and will end at 4:04pm. The maximum eclipse time is set at 12:10pm – this is when you will be able to see that gorgeous ring of fire. So, the solar eclipse will last less than seven hours.
As mentioned, while people across the country will able to witness this celestial event, the best visibility of this remarkable solar eclipse will be limited to a very narrow path. This narrow path as shown in the following map from NASA will see the eclipse magnitude of 0.9940, whereas the farther you move from this narrow path, the eclipse magnitude will go down.
Thankfully, all of north India and parts of east as well as west India will see the eclipse magnitude of around 0.80. For southern India, magnitude will go further down to anywhere between 0.30 to 0.70. The eclipse magnitude is basically defined as the fraction of the Sun's diameter occulted by the Moon. The more the magnitude, the more area of Sun is covered. Eclipse magnitude is always between 0 and 1, thus, the total solar eclipses have the magnitude of 1.
Even if you don't live near a place with best eclipse magnitude or have weather problems, you can still enjoy the surya grahan (solar eclipse) through webcasts. Among the solar eclipse live streams from India, the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences will stream the eclipse from Nainital. While the institute doesn't fall on the best visibility path, but it is close enough to offer a good view.
According to the institute, the partial eclipse will begin at 10:25am in Nainital and end at 1:54pm. The maximum eclipse will be visible at 12:08pm. The live stream will kick off at 10am. The institute will be using 15cm Solar Telescope with H-alpha filter.
Indian Institute of Astrophysics will also be hosting a live stream of today's solar eclipse. The livestream will start at 10:00am IST.
The Virtual Telescope Project will also be hosting a livestream of today's eclipse, thanks to various international contributors based in Africa and Asia. The livestream will start at 11am.
How to properly watch a solar eclipse or surya grahan
Unlike the lunar eclipses that can be watched with naked eyes, solar eclipses require precautions otherwise you may harm your eyes.
When is the next annular solar eclipse that will be visible from India?
The next annular solar eclipse, which will be visible from India, will occur on May 21, 2031, whereas, a total solar eclipse will be seen on March 20, 2034.
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