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Sunday, April 14, 2024

A month of celestial wonders and stargazing delights: April 2023

Rare hybrid solar eclipse which will offer a breathtaking sight of the Moon and the Sun aligning in a rare cosmic event.

On April 20, 2023, the world will witness a rare and breathtaking sight in the sky – a hybrid solar eclipse, which also happens to be the first eclipse of 2023. This type of eclipse occurs only a few times in a century, making it a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many. The eclipse is set to start early in the morning and end right before noon as per Pakistan Standard Time.

What is a Solar Eclipse?

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, blocking the sun’s rays from reaching the Earth. This alignment of the sun, Earth, and moon happens only a few times a year and creates an incredible cosmic display for onlookers.

A hybrid solar eclipse is a unique type of solar eclipse that occurs when the moon’s shadow falls on the Earth’s surface. This type of eclipse is rare because it only occurs when the moon is at a specific distance from the Earth. In this type of eclipse, the moon appears smaller than the sun, which creates a ring of fire around the moon’s shadow. This is known as an annular eclipse.

Where Will the Eclipse be Visible?

Although the eclipse is set to occur on April 20, it won’t be visible in Pakistan. However, it will be visible from parts of southern and eastern Asia, Australia and Antarctica, and over the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Some parts of the world will witness the rare solar eclipse partially and some completely. It will not be visible in the United States. However, just a few months later, in October, there will be another solar eclipse that will be seen in the western part of the US. This eclipse will have several different phases, starting at 6:34 am PST and ending at 11:59 am PST. The total eclipse will occur at 7:37 am PST, and the eclipse will peak at 9:17 am PST.

Read More: Lunar and Solar eclipses: how and why astronomical study originated

Global Astronomy Month

The month of April has been designated as “Global Astronomy Month” by a US-based organisation called Astronomers Without Borders. This month offers mesmerising sights in the sky, including the rare hybrid solar eclipse that will take place on April 20. During this month, astronomy enthusiasts and stargazers from around the world come together to celebrate the beauty and wonder of the universe. Various events and activities are organised, including star parties, telescope workshops, and astronomy lectures.

The Ring of Fire

During the eclipse, a ring of fire will be visible in the Indian Ocean, where the Moon will not completely cover the Sun, leaving a glowing ring around its edges. This spectacular phenomenon is caused by the fact that the Moon’s distance from Earth varies slightly during its orbit, causing its apparent size to change.

In contrast, Western Australia will witness the total phase of the eclipse, where the Moon will completely cover the Sun, creating darkness during the day. This phase of the eclipse will last for around nine minutes, making it the longest duration of any total solar eclipse this century.

Read More: Moon lighting: Partial lunar eclipse to be longest since 1440

The solar eclipse on April 20, 2023, promises to be an unforgettable sight, offering stargazers and astronomy enthusiasts a rare opportunity to witness one of the most awe-inspiring events in the universe. Although it won’t be visible in Pakistan, it will offer a mesmerising sight for those in southern and eastern Asia, Australia and Antarctica, and over the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. This celestial phenomenon is a reminder of the vastness and beauty of our universe, and it provides a chance for us to reflect on our place in the cosmos. As we celebrate Global Astronomy Month this April, let us appreciate the wonders of the universe and continue to explore and learn more about the mysteries that lie beyond our planet.