By Chris King • 01 December 2021 • 0:12
This coming Saturday, December 4 will see the only total solar eclipse of 2021. Astronomy lovers may well have the date marked in red on the calendar but, although there is much expectation, it will not be visible from Spain or Europe.
It will be the fourth and last eclipse of this year, in which three phenomena of this type have already been registered. A total lunar eclipse occurred on May 26, with an annular solar eclipse on June 10. These were followed by a partial lunar eclipse last November 19.
A solar eclipse happens when the light of the Sun is totally or partially hidden by a star coming between the Sun and the observer. These eclipses of the Sun are classified into three types: total, annular and partial.
Total is the Moon completely covers the disk of the Sun. A partial is when the Moon covers only a part of the Sun. Finally, the annular eclipse occurs when the disk of the Moon does not cover the full disk of the Sun, even if their centres are well aligned.
As explained by the National Geographic Institute (IGN), “This is because the Moon is farther from Earth that day than in the case of a total eclipse, so that its disk looks smaller than that of the Sun. In this case a bright ring is observed surrounding the lunar disk”.
According to IGN, Saturday’s eclipse will begin at 7am UT (Universal Time), at a point in the Atlantic Ocean to the east of the Falklands Islands. Then, the phenomenon will cross the Weddel Sea and West Antarctica, and end in the Antarctic Ocean. This spectacle will end at 8:06am, at a point in the Antarctic Ocean in front of the Gezt Ice Barrier in Antarctica. Its total duration will be 66 minutes.
The maximum of the eclipse will take place at 7:33am, in the Weddel Sea, off the coast of Berkner Island. There will be a maximum duration of 1 minute and 54 seconds and the width of the shadow at the maximum moment should be about 418km, as reported by diariosur.es.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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