On April 8, 2023, an astronomical event of great significance will occur- a total solar eclipse. This rare event is expected to be visible across a narrow path that stretches from the eastern coast of Australia to the western coast of South America, passing over Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the southern Pacific Ocean. While India will not be in the path of totality, the eclipse will still be visible as a partial eclipse in some parts of the country.
So, what exactly is a solar eclipse? A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, blocking the sun’s light and casting a shadow on the earth. There are three types of solar eclipses- total, partial, and annular. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon completely blocks the sun, while a partial solar eclipse occurs when the moon only partially covers the sun. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon is too far away from the earth to completely cover the sun, resulting in a “ring of fire” around the moon.
In India, the eclipse will be visible as a partial eclipse in the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura. The eclipse will begin at around 1:15 pm IST and will end at around 6:30 pm IST, with the maximum eclipse occurring at around 4:00 pm IST. During the maximum eclipse, the moon will cover around 70% of the sun, resulting in a significant decrease in sunlight.
It is important to note that viewing a solar eclipse can be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. Looking directly at the sun during an eclipse can cause permanent eye damage or even blindness. It is recommended to use special solar eclipse glasses or watch the eclipse through a pinhole camera or telescope with a solar filter.
Apart from being a rare astronomical event, solar eclipses have also been associated with various cultural and religious beliefs. In India, eclipses are considered inauspicious and many people observe certain practices such as fasting, taking a bath after the eclipse, and avoiding cooking or eating during the eclipse.
The Great Solar Eclipse of 2023 is a once-in-a-lifetime event that is sure to capture the imagination of people across the world. While India will not be in the path of totality, the partial eclipse will still be a breathtaking sight to behold. So, mark your calendars and get ready to witness this natural wonder in 2023!