Next Solar Eclipse: 'Ring of Fire' April 29 Won't Be Very Visible

Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 03:17 PM

By Michael Mullins

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The next solar eclipse will turn the sun into a "ring of fire" next week.

On April 29, an "annular" solar eclipse, as opposed to a "total" solar eclipse, will occur. The rare event, however, will not be seen by most, being visible only in a small area of Antarctica, various parts of the uninhabited ocean, and in Australia, with those living on the island of Tasmania having a particularly good view, Space.com reported.

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The eclipse is expected to begin at 3:51 p.m. Tasmanian time and be at its height at 5 p.m. According to Space.com, the eclipse will continue even as the sun begins to set.



As with any solar eclipse, observers should not view the astronomical event directly, but rather use a telescope or a filter to watch it. Partial solar eclipses have the greatest potential for eye damage, considering the sun is never completely covered by the moon during the event, the International Business Times noted.

"This month’s solar eclipse is also a rarity in that it’s a non-central eclipse with one limit," Universetoday.com explains on its website. "That is, the center of the Moon’s shadow — known as the antumbra during an annular eclipse — will juuuust miss the Earth and instead pass scant kilometres above the Antarctic continent."

According to AstroGuyz.com, there will be only two solar and two lunar eclipses in 2014, which is the minimum that can occur in a single year. On Oct. 23, North America will reportedly experience a partial solar eclipse.

A blood moon lunar eclipse made headlines earlier in the month.

The blood moon occurs when the lunar surface adopts a shade of reddish-orange color as the Earth casts its shadow on the moon. The color results from the Earth's atmosphere bending toward the moon.

Though rare, consecutive total lunar eclipses, known as tetrads, have occurred in the recent past, the last time being in 2004 and 2005, and are likely to occur between eight and nine times over the next 100 years.

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