The people of Central and Southern Africa will have a great chance to witness a partial solar eclipse today, Thursday 1 September, 2016
ECLIPSES IN LUSAKA, ZAMBIA
Max View in Lusaka is on Thursday, 1 September 2016, 10:45 ( http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/zambia/lusaka )
Global Type: Annular Solar Eclipse
Lusaka: Partial Solar Eclipse
Begins: Thu, 1 Sep 2016, 09:03
Maximum: Thu, 1 Sep 2016, 10:45
Ends: Thu, 1 Sep 2016, 12:36
Duration: 3 hours, 33 minutes
According to TimeandDate.com, this phenomenon is known as a Partial Solar Eclipse and happens when the Moon comes between the Sun and the Earth, but they don't align in a perfectly straight line. Because of this, the Moon only partially covers the Sun's disc.
The Sun looks like the Moon has taken a bite out of it. This is because the Moon casts the lighter, outer part of its shadow, the penumbra, on Earth.
ONLY AT NEW MOON
However, a new Moon is necessary for a partial solar eclipse to occur, but partial solar eclipses do not happen during every new Moon night.
This is because the plane of the Moon's orbital path around the Earth is inclined at an angle of 5° to the Earth's orbital plane (ecliptic) around the Sun. The points where the 2 orbital planes meet are called lunar nodes. Solar eclipses occur only when a new Moon takes place near a lunar node.
During a partial solar eclipse, the Moon's umbra completely misses the Earth. Everyone in the Moon's penumbra gets to see a partially eclipsed Sun. There are 3 distinct stages of a partial solar eclipse:
- Partial solar eclipse begins: The Moon starts moving over the Sun's disc.
- Maximum eclipse: The Moon partially covers the Sun. If you're somewhere in the eclipse's path, you'll see that the Moon appears to take a bite out of the Sun.
- Partial solar eclipse ends: The Moon stops covering the Sun.
PROTECT YOUR EYES!
Never look directly at the Sun, eclipsed or otherwise, without any protective eyewear. The Sun’s UV radiation can burn the retinas in the eyes leading to permanent damage or even blindness.
The only way to safely watch a total solar eclipse is to wear protective eclipse glasses or to project an image of the eclipsed Sun using a pinhole projector.