Washington: Scientists have said that Europe and India will witness a solar eclipse next year on 4th January.
In Western Europe, the Sun will be eclipsed as the day begins and will last about 80 minutes more. Even at its maximum, the eclipse will be only partial, with some of the everyday Sun still visible.
They caution that special solar filters or projection methods should always be used to protect the eyes while viewing the eclipse.
“Whenever the ordinary Sun is visible, even only part of it, you should not stare at it. Special solar filters are available cheaply, or dense [shade 12 or higher] welders’ glass will do,” said Prof. Jay Pasachoff of Williams College in the United States.
“Another method of seeing that the Sun is eclipsed is to punch a hole a few
millimeters across in a piece of cardboard and hold it up to the Sun while you face away from the Sun and see the Sun’s image projected on the ground or onto another piece of cardboard,” he said.
At maximum, the eclipse will be at the horizon at sunrise in England, with 75 percent of the Sun’s diameter covered, and then gradually emerge over the next hour and 20 minutes.
At Paris or Berlin, 80 percent will be covered near sunrise. Farther east, the Sun will be a bit higher in the sky at maximum, 22 degrees high with 67 percent covered in Athens.
In Israel and Egypt, the Sun will be 33 degrees high with over 55 percent coverage at maximum.
The International Astronomical Union’s Website (http://www.eclipses.info) includes information on how to view an eclipse safely and why solar eclipses are interesting.
The year 2011 is unusual in that it has only four partial solar eclipses, for all of which the darkest part of the Moon’s shadow passes off the Earth’s surface.