China, Japan, US to witness 'ring' solar eclipse

At sunrise in some parts of China and Japan and by sunset in the western United States, a partial solar eclipse is set to slink across a narrow swath of the Earth on May 20 and 21.

Depending on where people are in the eclipse's path, some may be able to witness an annular eclipse in which the moon blocks out all but a ring of the Sun's light.

Others will see the Sun as a crescent, partially obscured by the moon, for a period of around four to five minutes.

The event will be the first time in 18 years that such an eclipse is visible from the continental United States, according to Fred Espenak, a longtime solar eclipse expert with NASA.

"What is unusual about this particular annular eclipse is that it goes over the western US," Espenak told AFP.

"People always think that eclipses are extremely rare but there are at least two solar eclipses every year. Each of these annular eclipses covers a very small fraction of the Earth's surface."

The path of the annular eclipse will span "a 240 to 300 kilometer-wide (150-185 mile) track that traverses eastern Asia, the northern Pacific Ocean and the western United States," according to the US space agency.

The eclipse begins at sunrise in southern China at 2206 GMT Sunday, which is early Monday local time, and swiftly travels eastward to the southern coast of Japan, NASA said.

"Tokyo lies 10 kilometers (six miles) north of the central line. For the over 10 million residents within the metropolitan area, the annular phase will last five minutes beginning at 2232 GMT," said NASA.

The shadow then embarks on a 7,000-kilometer-long Pacific ocean voyage that will endure for about two hours, skimming just south of Alaska's Aleutian Islands.

The eclipse will reach the coastlines of southern Oregon and northern California Sunday evening local time, at 0123 GMT Monday, and it should be visible in Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas.

The US East Coast will not see any of the eclipse because the Sun will have already set.

"The desert areas of Nevada, southern Utah and northern Arizona may be the best (for viewing) if they have the greatest chance of clear skies and the eclipse takes place low in the sky over a dramatic landscape," said Alan MacRobert, editor of Sky and Telescope magazine.

According to historical cloud data, China and Japan may be out of luck since a high likelihood of gray skies would block the view of the Sun.

"Unfortunately this is monsoon season, and the weather prospects are supposed to be poor in southern China," MacRobert told AFP, but nevertheless urged residents to check local forecasts for updates.

"China and Japan don't look to be very lucky for this. It would take quite a stroke of luck to get a clear sky."

Of course, no one should look directly at the eclipse due to the risk of permanent eye damage. Even sunglasses are not enough to protect eyes from the glare.

Instead, experts say a safe solar filter, such as a #13 or #14 rectangular arc-welder's glass or an astronomer's filter made specifically for Sun viewing are the best options.

Espenak suggested another way to view it -- by holding binoculars with the eye piece pointed toward a piece of white cardboard and the outer end pointed toward the Sun.

"The important thing is not to look through the binoculars," he cautioned. But by directing the eyepiece toward the white cardboard, "you get a magnified view of the Sun and the eclipse in progress."

The next time the Earth will witness a total eclipse of the Sun, a more dramatic event than a partial or annular eclipse, will be August 21, 2017.

Further details: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEmono/ASE2012/ASE2012.html

http://www.skypub.com/may20eclipse

Safe viewing tips: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/home/Safely-View-the-Upcoming-Eclipse-and-Transit-150863835.html

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel
    Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel

    The $150,000 pearl-studded, custom-made Calvin Klein dress worn by Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o at this year's Academy Awards has been stolen, police said on Thursday. The gown, embellished with 6,000 natural white pearls, was stolen from Nyong'o's room at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, during the day on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in West Hollywood said. "Ms Nyong'o was not in the room at the time of the theft," Deputy John Mitchell …

  • South Korea decriminalises adultery, condom shares soar
    South Korea decriminalises adultery, condom shares soar

    South Korea's Constitutional Court on Thursday struck down a controversial adultery law which for more than 60 years had criminalised extra-marital sex and jailed violators for up to two years. The decision saw shares in the South Korean firm Unidus Corp., one of the world's largest condom manufacturers, soar by the daily limit of 15 percent on the local stock exchange. "Even if adultery should be condemned as immoral, state power should not intervene in individuals' private lives," said …

  • US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians
    US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians

    The US-led coalition has carried out air strikes against the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria, where the jihadists have launched a new offensive and kidnapped 220 Assyrian Christians. The raids on Thursday struck areas around the town of Tal Tamr in Hasakeh province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, without giving information on possible casualties. The town remains under the control of Kurdish forces, but at least 10 surrounding villages have been seized by IS, along …

  • U.S. flies most advanced surveillance plane from Philippines

    By Manuel Mogato MANILA (Reuters) - The United States has begun flying its most advanced surveillance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, out of the Philippines for patrols over the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy said on Thursday, acknowledging the flights for the first time. The United States, the Philippines' oldest and closest ally, has promised to share "real time" information on what is happening in Philippine waters as China steps up its activities in the South China Sea. China claims most of …

  • Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts
    Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State militants seized more Christians from their homes in northeastern Syria in the past three days, bringing the total number abducted by the extremist group to over 220, activists said Thursday. …

  • IS executioner 'Jihadi John' named as London graduate
    IS executioner 'Jihadi John' named as London graduate

    "Jihadi John", the masked Islamic State group militant believed responsible for beheading of at least five Western hostages, has been named as Kuwaiti-born computing graduate Mohammed Emwazi from London. "Jihadi John", nicknamed after Beatle John Lennon due to his British accent, is believed to be responsible for the murders of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig. …

  • Purisima denies endorsing successor
    Purisima denies endorsing successor

    Resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima denied reports that he has been urging President Aquino to appoint his protegé as the new police chief. “Contrary to news reports, PDG Alan La Madrid Purisima is not in any position to recommend and has not in fact recommended anyone to the President for appointment as next chief of the PNP,” his lawyer Kristoffer James Purisima said yesterday. Sources said that Purisima may have resigned but he reportedly remains …

  • National Geographic 'Afghan girl' in Pakistan papers probe
    National Geographic 'Afghan girl' in Pakistan papers probe

    Pakistani officials are investigating after the famous green-eyed "Afghan girl" immortalised in a 1985 National Geographic magazine cover was found living in the country on fraudulent identity papers. The haunting image of the then 12-year-old Sharbat Gula, taken in a refugee camp by photographer Steve McCurry, became the most famous cover image in the magazine's history. Now Pakistani officials say that Gula applied for a Pakistani identity card in the northwestern city of Peshawar in April …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options