The New Moon will pass squarely in front of the sun later today treating anyone living along its shadow path to an annular eclipse. That path cuts across Australia, eastern Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and the Gilbert Islands. Sky watchers across a much broader region of the Pacific including Australia and Indonesia will witness a partial solar eclipse. The rest of us can happily watch it on the Web.
An annular eclipse happens when the moon is at apogee, its most distant point from Earth in its monthly orbit. Being farther away, it’s too small to completely cover the sun during totality, leaving a narrow ring or annulus of sunlight hanging in the sky like a fiery wedding band.
Unlike a total solar eclipse, where the moon completely blocks the sun and makes its safe to look at, solar filters are required during all phases of an annular eclipse.
That’ll all be taken care of when you head to the Web later today to see the wonder for yourself. The eclipse starts around 5:30 p.m. Central time over Australia. Here are a couple places to check out:
* SLOOH Space Camera. Webcast begins at 4:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time (2:30 p.m Pacific)
* Coca-Cola Space Center. Webcast starts at 4 p.m. Central (2 p.m. Pacific)
* Solar Eclipse Australia. Start checking around 4:30 p.m. Central time