In just 2 days, the world will get rare access to a beautiful celestial event. On March 20, some parts of the earth will be able to view a total eclipse of the sun. The last total solar eclipse happened in November of 2013, but this is surely going to be one to remember.
A solar eclipse is a phenomenon when the sun and the moon line up, such that the moon overcomes the sun. This occurrence can only happen at a new moon – when the sun and the moon are in conjunction as seen from Earth. Although partial eclipses, when the moon blocks part of the light from the sun, occur much more frequently, a total eclipse moon completely obscures the sun’s light.
The optimal place to be to view this eclipse is northern Europe – as the shadow will start at the southern tip of Greenland and move toward the United Kingdom and Iceland. After sometime, the shadow will go towards the Faroe Islands, then to the Norwegian Islands, and once it reaches the North Pole, it will be out of sight.
In the above listed places, an estimated 50,000 people will have the opportunity to really take in the magnificence of the total solar eclipse. In the Norwegian Sea (where fishermen are working), they will be able to experience the sight for up to two full minutes. And in the islands of Norway, they will be able to see up to two minutes and twenty seconds.
However, because of the time of year, it is possible that weather conditions may be subpar. There is currently a 20-30 percent chance of clear skies in the area. Also, it may be quite cold in the evening, inhibiting some from wanting to venture outside.
Unfortunately, the event will not be visible in person from North or South America. The next date one will be visible in the United States will be on August 21, 2017.
Regardless, this is set to be a particularly special event. Firstly, it is happening on an evening when there will also be a Supermoon – when a full or new moon (in this case) makes the closest approach to the Earth in the elliptical orbit. The technical name – the perigee-syzygy, essentially means it looks the biggest it ever does.
Lastly, the spring equinox is also set to take place on March 20. The Earth’s axis will be perpendicular to the sun’s rays, introducing spring and longer days in the northern hemisphere. For northerners, there are many things to be excited for.
For those unable to see the total solar eclipse in person, there will be a streaming version online, Slooh.com, beginning at 4:30 a.m. EDT (0830 GMT).