A solar eclipse will roam the sky of the northern hemisphere on Thursday, over a strip of about 500 km running from Canada to Siberia, passing through Europe, where it will be only partial but still dangerous for the eyes.
At the peak of this so-called annular eclipse, Earthlings will see the Moon slowly glide in front of the Sun, to transform it for a few minutes into a thin luminous ring, like a “circle of fire” in the June sky.
A show reserved for the few inhabitants of the highest latitudes, who are right in the axis: North-West of Canada, far-North of Russia, North-West of Greenland and North Pole, where the occultation of the solar disk will be 87.8%, specifies the Paris-PSL Observatory.
The annular eclipse will also be visible, but only partially, in northwestern North America, much of Europe, including France and Great Britain, as well as part of the North. from Asia.
Only 2.8% of eclipses in Marseille
At these latitudes, and if the sky is clear, astronomy enthusiasts will be able to observe a fraction of the Sun obscured by the moon's black disk, at 20% in London, 16% in Lille, 13.2 %% in Paris, 5.5% in Toulouse and only 2.8% in Marseille…. "The more we go to the South-East, the less obscuration will be important," explained Florent Delefie, of the Paris Observatory, who will broadcast the event live - and in close-up - on his YouTube channel.
The eclipse will last about two hours, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in mainland France, with a maximum between 11:55 a.m. and 12:20 p.m. It will not be "very spectacular" at these latitudes, but remains interesting to observe, according to the astronomer. It is however imperative not to look at the star directly, even with sunglasses or through a cloud. “Retinal burns can be irreversible,” recalls the expert. The most curious will have to protect themselves with glasses sold in astronomy stores (beware of used eclipse glasses), or use the means of observation of amateur astronomers.
It can also be contemplated indirectly, in projection on the ground, using a piece of perforated cardboard, or a skimmer.
This is the first annular eclipse of the year 2021, and the sixteenth of the 21st century.
This astronomical phenomenon occurs during the New Moon period, when Earth, Moon and Sun are perfectly aligned.
If the apparent diameter of the Moon is less than that of the Sun, part of the crown of fire remains visible.
A total eclipse, which briefly plunges part of the planet into darkness, occurs when the diameter of the Moon exactly matches that of the Sun as seen from Earth.
This phenomenon, rarer, was notably observable from France in August 1999.
A rare "circle of fire" type eclipse observable in the skies of Africa and Asia
Total solar eclipse: Southern Chile and Argentina plunged into darkness