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Surya Grahan: First solar eclipse of 2019 today; India timings, how to watch


New Delhi, Jan 5: 2019 promises to be a fabulous year for sky-watchers. A partial solar eclipse will occur on Sunday, January 6, 2019, when the Moon will pass in front of some of the Sun to cause a partial solar eclipse. This will be the years first stronimical event, and comes two weeks before the 'Super Blood Wolf Moon' - a total lunar eclipse on January 20-21.

Surya Grahan: First solar eclipse of 2019 today; India timings, how to watch

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the image of the Sun for a viewer on Earth. A partial solar eclipse occurs in the polar regions of the Earth when the center of the Moon's shadow misses the Earth.

When and where

The year will start with a partial solar eclipse on January 6, though it will not be visible in India. The solar eclipse will begin at 5:04 am on January 6 and will last till 9:18 am. Maximum eclipse, or the amount of time the Moon will block out the Sun when observed, will last approximately four minutes and 23 seconds.

What is a partial solar eclipse?

An eclipse is a celestial phenomenon which takes place when the Sun, Moon, and Earth are aligned in a straight line. During a solar eclipse, the Moon blocks the Sun's path stopping the sunlight from reaching the Earth. It turns dark during a total solar eclipse and temperatures can call given the Sun is completely blocked.

What to expect

The eclipse will be partial, as the alignment between the Sun and the Moon won't be exact. The result is a view of the Moon that covers the Sun only slightly.

NASA has created an interactive path of the eclipse using Google Maps to track the trajectory of the eclipse. If you're lucky to be anywhere within the path of the eclipse on 6 January, don't forget to wear protective eyewear when you catch a glimpse of the action!

The partial solar eclipse as seen from Calgary, Alberta, on May 20, 2012, captured at maximum eclipse.

Partial solar eclipse on January 6: Is it safe to watch?

A partial solar eclipse is not safe to watch with bare eyes and specific glasses are available in the market that can be bought to watch this phenomenon without damaging the eyes. The partial solar eclipse requires the same precautions as a total solar eclipse. People are recommended to use pinhole cameras or special solar eclipse protection glasses to watch this partial solar eclipse.

When is the next eclipse?

This partial solar eclipse is the first of six in 2019. A total lunar eclipse - the 'Super Blood Wolf Moon' - will occur on January 20/21, 2019 (depending on where you view from in North and South America, or western Europe). However, the highlight of the year for eclipse-chasers will be July 2, 2019, when a total solar eclipse occurs over the South Pacific, Chile and Argentina.

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