Written by Daksh Sehgal, a grade 6 student
On 21 June 2020, the world will witness an annual solar eclipse. The eclipse will begin at 9:15 a.m. IST and end at 3:04 p.m. IST on the same day. This eclipse will be visible in India, as well as parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, the north of Australia, and the Pacific and Indian Ocean. In 2020, two solar eclipses will take place – one is scheduled for June and the other one is expected to occur in December.
What is a solar eclipse?
When the moon passes between the earth and the sun, it blocks the light of the sun. This casts a shadow of the moon on earth, that we see as an eclipse. There are three types of solar eclipses – total, partial, and annular.
The solar eclipse on the 21st of June will be an annular eclipse that will be visible in several parts of India. This happens when the moon is very far from the earth, and so it looks smaller. It does not block the sun completely. The moon is seen in front of the sun, like a dark disk around a brightly lit ring.
There are lots of superstitions and myths around the solar eclipse. In many parts of the world, eclipses are seen as evil warnings that can bring death, destruction, or disasters. In many cultures, young children and pregnant women are asked to stay indoors during the eclipse.
In India, many people fast during a solar eclipse. They believe that food cooked at this time will be impure or poisonous. Not all superstitions surrounding solar eclipses are about bad omens. For instance, in Italy, it is believed that flowers planted during a solar eclipse are brighter and more colourful.
While the world is preparing for its first solar eclipse of the year, here are some things to keep in mind:
- It is strictly advised not to watch the eclipse with a naked eye. Use proper eye protection.
- Do not watch the eclipse through smartphone or optical camera viewfinder.
- Sky gazers must use binoculars or telescopes with correct filters to see the eclipse.
There are plenty of options for eclipse glasses that can be bought online. So, if you would like to witness the eclipse, make sure to take all precautions.