Surya Grahan or Solar Eclipse 2020: 9 Interesting Facts
On June 21, India will witness its deepest annual solar eclipse of the century in Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttarakhand. The sun will appear black with a white ring surrounding it for 30 seconds only during its maximum phase. However, the rest of India will witness a partial solar eclipse. This eclipse is the deepest annual solar eclipse as the Moon will cover the Sun up to 98.8%. The Sun will not appear as the 'Ring of Fire' but will appear as a necklace of pearls during its maximum phase.
In the Solar Eclipse when Moon does not cover completely Sun and so, Sun appears like "Ring of Fire" or a type of disc with illuminating edges. Solar Eclipse is also known as Surya Grahan. It is not only visible in most parts of India but also in several countries of the world including Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia.
During Total Solar Eclipse, the Moon lines up the Sun, covering up the Sun causing a shadow known as umbra and in the day time, it causes dark just like night. Total Solar Eclipse is a natural phenomenon and according to Hindu mythology, it has its own impact on the human body. It is said that during an eclipse the atmosphere of the Earth gets contaminated, therefore, some precautions should be taken to avoid any type of harmful side effects.
A total Solar Eclipse happens when the Sun, Moon and the Earth come in a straight line in such a way that the Moon blocks the rays of the Sun from reaching the Earth. As we know that 2 July 2019 Solar Eclipse was the longest total Solar Eclipse until 2027 and 26 December 2019, Solar Eclipse is an "Annular Solar Eclipse".
What is Ring of Fire?
Solar Eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, thereby obscuring the Sun rays totally or partially for a viewer on Earth. In an annular solar eclipse, the diameter of the moon is smaller than that of the Sun and blocks most of the light of the Sun that causes the Sun to look like a ring or annulus of fire.
9 Fascinating facts about Total Solar Eclipse
1. Do you know why we experience Total Solar Eclipse? The distance of the Sun from the Earth is 400 times the Moon distance and the diameter of the Sun is 400 times the diameter of the Moon. So, because of this coincidence, Total Solar Eclipse occurs in which Moon covers the whole Sun. Also, a Total Solar Eclipse is not noticeable until the Sun is more than 90 per cent covered by the Moon. Amazing is that at 99 per cent coverage, daytime lighting resembles like a local twilight.
2. The longest duration of the Total Solar Eclipse can be 7.5 minutes. This time on 2nd July the duration will be around 4 minutes and 33 seconds which will be the longest until 2027. Let us tell you that 2nd July 2019 Total Solar Eclipse will be nearly twice as long as the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017. Every year there are between 2 and 5 solar eclipses. Generally, the width of the path of totality is at most 167 miles wide.
3. For the astronomers, 2 July 2019 is the greatest eclipse ever. Do you know that at the tip of Cerro Pachon Mountain various astronomical observatories are located including Gemini South as a part of Cerro Tololo Observatory? In fact, the future Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will also be located here. In total three world-class laboratories will experience the totality of the Solar Eclipse on 2nd July 2019.
4. The shadows of the Eclipse travel at 1,100 miles per hour at the equator and up to 5,000 miles per hour near the poles. Only, partial solar eclipses can be observed from the North and the South Poles. It is said that once every 1.5 years, a total solar eclipse happens.
5. What is the Saros Cycle? It is said that nearly identical eclipses that are total, annual or partial occur after 18 years and 11 days or every 6,585.32 days of Saros Cycle.
Saros Cycle takes 18 years and 11 days for the entire orbit of the Moon to process once around in its orbit plane so that the lunar nodes make one complete revolution along the orbit. This cycle is equalled nearly an integer number of the lunar month that is 223x29.53 days = 6,585.32 days during each Saros cycle. So, the true length of the Saros Cycle is 6,585.32 days. So, you have to wait for Three Saros Cycles in order for an eclipse to repeat at the same spot on the Earth.
6. To view an eclipse is extremely dangerous for astronomical equipment. The mirrors of the telescope have a special coating but are designed to measure and focus the extremely faint amount of light. A small amount of exposure to direct sunlight could entirely destroy the downstream equipment and the coatings on the primary and secondary mirrors.
7. What is a Hybrid Eclipse? It is a rare type of solar eclipse that changes its appearances as the moon's shadow moves across the surface of the Earth. It is said that the next hybrid eclipse will occur on 20 April 2023 and can be seen from Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. Another will be seen from Panama and parts of the Pacific Ocean on 14 November 2031.
8. During total Solar Eclipse, the temperature may drop over by 20 degrees Fahrenheit or 12 degree Celsius. The longer duration of the eclipse will help us to see the Sun's extended corona. The corona of the Sun is 10,000 brighter than the new Moon.
9. Every eclipse begins at sunrise at some point in its track and ends at sunset about halfway around the world from the start point. Partial solar eclipses can be seen up to 3,000 miles from the track of totality. During the total solar eclipse, local animals and birds often prepare themselves for sleep or behave in a confused manner.
So, these are some interesting and fascinating facts about Surya Grahan or Total Solar Eclipse.