Solar and lunar eclipses rarely come alone, but July and August 2018 see three in a row. Here’s when, where, and how you can see them.
The moon and sun do not have the same apparent path through the sky. The moon’s orbit is slightly inclined at 5 degrees, which means it only occasionally crosses the sun’s path exactly. So when a New Moon crosses the Sun, the likelihood is that the next Full Moon will be precisely opposite the sun, so pass through the Earth’s shadow. That’s exactly what happens in July and August 2018, causing a partial solar eclipse followed by a total lunar eclipse followed by a another partial solar eclipse. Here’s when and where:
Eclipse #1: 13 July, 2018 – Partial Solar Eclipse (01:48 UTC)
Only visible from the south coast of Australia, this partial solar eclipse will last 1 hour 38 minutes. It’s only going to cover 22% of the sun, so this will not be a dramatic eclipse, and there will be no detectable change in the intensity of the sun’s light. It’s mostly going to happen at sea, but some parts of southern Australia will see between a 0.7% to 3.5% chunk taken out of the sun by the moon. Here are all the details.
Eclipse #2: 27 July, 2018 – Total Lunar Eclipse (17:14 UTC)
This is the big one; a Full Moon and a Blood Moon, which despite the name will turn a copper, orange or red color during totality. It will do so for the longest time in the 21st-century, spending an hour and 42 minutes in totality. However, none of that will be observable from North America because it occurs during daytime. Those on the night side of Earth in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australasia will all get a great view. Here are all the timings and maps.
However, North Americans do not have long to wait because the next Blood Moon is on 20 January, 2019.
Eclipse #3: 11 August, 2018 – Partial Solar Eclipse (08:02 UTC)
Since the first partial solar eclipse of this season grazed the southern hemisphere, the second grazes the northern hemisphere. Visible from the extreme north of North America, Greenland, Iceland, northern Europe and Scandinavia, and much of Asia, the north Siberian shore will experience a big 73.6% eclipse of the sun as it sets. A good place to be would be Seoul in South Korea to watch a eclipsed sunset. Moscow, Oslo, Reykjavik, Nuuk, and Astana will also be in a good position. It’s just detectable from Scotland, where less than 1% of the sun will be eclipsed by the moon from Shetland and the Orkney Islands. Go here for timings and maps.
When is the next Partial Solar Eclipse? That’s on January 5-6, 2019.
Image credit: CC0 Creative Commons