Cebu witnesses ‘ring of fire’

FORTUNATE were those who witnessed the annular solar eclipse on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019—they do not have to wait for 44 years, that is for the year 2063 to come around, to behold this kind of astronomical phenomenon.

In some parts of Cebu, most people who did not use a telescope failed to see the eclipse as it was cloudy most of the day. The eclipse started to show at 12:45 p.m. It lasted three hours, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

According to Pagasa Visayas Officer-in-Charge Al Quiblat, the annular solar eclipse is also known as the “ring of fire.” In the Pagasa website, weather specialist Mario M. Raymundo explained that the eclipse happens when the moon crosses the sun completely.

However, he said, “the moon’s orbit is in a position farthest from Earth. This means that the moon’s apparent size in the sky is not large enough to completely cover the sun, as witnessed during total solar eclipses. This, instead, created a ‘ring of fire’ effect.”

The last annular solar eclipse was visible in the Philippines on July 20, 1944. Quiblat said full annular solar eclipse was visible at 2:27 p.m., and 82 percent of this was visible in Cebu. It lasted until 3:54 p.m.

Aside from Cebu, Pagasa reported that the eclipse was visible in southernmost parts of the Philippines, particularly in Glan (Batulak), Balut and Sarangani Island. It was also visible in parts of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Northern Mariana Islands and Guam.

It is expected that the next annular solar eclipse visible in the Philippines will take place on Feb. 28, 2063. It will be visible in most parts of Mindanao. Another annular solar eclipse will occur on July 24, 2074 passing through Southern Luzon, the Pagasa reported. (JCT)