Partial solar eclipse due Sunday

Partial solar eclipse due Sunday

Spectacular 'ring of fire' will be visible in parts of Africa and Asia

The moon moves in front of the sun in a “ring of fire” solar eclipse as seen from Balut Island in the southern Philippines on Dec 26, 2019. (AFP Photo)
The moon moves in front of the sun in a “ring of fire” solar eclipse as seen from Balut Island in the southern Philippines on Dec 26, 2019. (AFP Photo)

A partial solar eclipse will be visible in Thailand on Sunday afternoon, while sky-gazers in some other parts of Asia and Africa will be treated to a spectacular “ring of fire” event.

For those in Bangkok, the moon will begin to move in front of the sun at 1.10pm local time, with maximum coverage reaching 40% at 2.48pm. The eclipse will end at 4.09pm.

Sunday’s event is known as an annular eclipse, in which the moon does not completely cover the sun as it passes between the star and Earth. Instead, a ring of sunlight will still shine around the outer edge, hence the “ring of fire” name. 

Viewers along a narrow band from west Africa to the Arabian peninsula, India and southern China will witness the most dramatic “ring of fire” eclipse in years.

Sunday’s eclipse coincides with the northern hemisphere’s longest day of the year, the summer solstice, when Earth’s north pole is tilted most directly toward the sun.

The eclipse will be seen first just a few minutes after sunrise local time in northeastern Congo-Brazzaville. This is the point of maximum duration, with the blackout lasting 82 seconds.

“Maximum eclipse”, with a perfect solar halo around the moon, will be reached over Uttarakhand near the border between India and China just after midday local time. 

Viewers are reminded that even if the day has turned cloudy, viewing a solar eclipse with the naked eye is dangerous. Sunglasses, which do not filter out ultraviolet rays, do not offer any protection. Advice on proper eye protection is available here.

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