Solar Eclipse – MAY 20, 2012

SOLAR ECLIPSE – MAY 20, 2012
 

 

On May 20-21, 2012 an annular eclipse of the Sun will be visible from within a narrow corridor along Earth’s northern Hemisphere — beginning in eastern Asia, crossing the North Pacific Ocean, and ending in the western United States. A partial eclipse will be visible from a much larger region covering East Asia, North Pacific, North America and Greenland.

During an annular eclipse the moon does not block the entirety of the sun, but leaves a bright ring of light visible at the edges. For the May eclipse, the moon will be at the furthest distance from Earth that it ever achieves – meaning that it will block the smallest possible portion of the sun, and leave the largest possible bright ring around the outside.

The joint JAXA/NASA Hinode mission will observe the eclipse and provide images and movies that will be available on the NASA website at http://www.nasa.gov/sunearth. Due to Hinode’s orbit around the Earth, Hinode will actually observe 4 separate partial eclipses.” Scientists often use an eclipse to help calibrate the instruments on the telescope by focusing in on the edge of the moon as it crosses the sun and measuring how sharp it appears in the images. An added bonus: Hinode’s X-ray Telescope will be able to provide images of the peaks and valleys of the lunar surface.

The orbits for NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO), and the joint ESA/NASA mission the Solar Heliospheric Observatory will not provide them with a view of the eclipse.

Karen C. Fox
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center



A “ring of fire” solar eclipse is coming to the USA this spring. It’s the first annular eclipse visible from the contiguous United States in almost 18 years. WATCH VIDEO





An annular solar eclipse will take place on May 20, 2012 (May 21, 2012 for local time in Eastern Hemisphere), with a magnitude of 0.9439. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partially obscuring the image of the Sun for a viewer on Earth. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon’s apparent diameter is smaller than the Sun, causing the Sun to look like an annulus (ring), blocking most of the Sun’s light.

An annular eclipse appears as a partial eclipse over a region thousands of kilometres wide. This is also known as Ring of Fire.

The annular phase will be visible from the Chinese coast, northern Taiwan, the south of Japan, and the western part of the United States. Guangzhou, Taipei, Tokyo and Albuquerque will be on the central path. Its maximum will occur in part of the North Pacific, south of the Aleutian islands for 5 min and 46.3 s, and finish in the western United States.



NORTH AMERICA

It will be the first central eclipse of the 21st century in the continental USA, and also the first annular eclipse there since the solar eclipse of May 10, 1994 which was also the previous eclipse of this series Solar Saros 128.


Solar eclipses 2011-2014

This set of solar eclipses repeat approximately every 177 days and 4 hours at alternating nodes of the moon’s orbit.

Note: Partial solar eclipses on January 4, 2011 and July 1, 2011 occur in the previous lunar year eclipse set.

Saros 128

It is a part of Saros cycle 128, repeating every 18 years, 11 days, containing 73 events. The series started with partial solar eclipse on August 29, 984 AD. It contains total eclipses from May 16, 1417 through June 18, 1471 and hybrid eclipses from June 28, 1489 through July 31, 1543. Then it progresses into annular eclipses from August 11, 1561 through July 25, 2120. The series ends at member 73 as a partial eclipse on November 1, 2282. The longest duration of totality was 1 minutes, 45 seconds on June 7, 1453.

Metonic seriesThe metonic series repeats eclipses every 19 years (6939.69 days), lasting about 5 cycles. Eclipses occur in nearly the same calendar date. In addition the octon subseries repeats 1/5 of that or every 3.8 years (1387.94 days).

The next solar eclipse will be the total solar eclipse on

More information on eclipses: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse.html

To find information about the time of any eclipse in your location: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/JSEX/JSEX-index.html

Share your eclipse photos in our Flickr gallery.


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