Skygazers in parts of the world are up for a celestial treat on Monday (May 21) when an annular solar eclipse takes place- a rare event in which the sun will appear as a thin ring behind the moon. However, in India it will only be visible in the northeastern states.
An annual solar eclipse occurs when the Sun, the Moon and the Earth are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun, therefore only a part of the sun gets blocked. Hence the Sun appears like an annulus (ring), surrounding the outline of the Moon.
The next annular solar eclipse will occur after 18 years in June 2030.
"An annular eclipse of the Sun will occur on May 21. The ending of the partial phase of the eclipse will be visible for a very short duration from northeast India after sunrise," said an official of the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
Other parts of India won't be able to watch the eclipse as it will be over before sunrise.
SPACE (Science Popularisation Association of Communicators & Educators) is taking an expedition of school students to Hong Kong to witness the annular solar eclipse, where it will be visible clearly.
"A total of 70 students from various schools are in Hong Kong to witness this rare celestial event," said C.B. Devgun, SPACE president, who is heading the tour.
He said the students will also participate in scientific activities and experiments, including contact timing measurement, a study of change in ambient temperature and lunar limb profile measurements.
"As the Sun won't be fully covered, you have to wear proper protection for your eyes even during the eclipse. You will also need a filter (ND filter or similar) for your camera to protect the sensor when taking pictures with telephoto/zoom lens," he said.