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What to know about this week’s rare hybrid solar eclipse | Space News

A rare hybrid solar eclipse will be visible in parts of the country on Thursday. The next one will be held in 2031.

A rare celestial event is on the horizon – a hybrid solar eclipse on Thursday.

Here’s what to know about it.

What is a hybrid eclipse?

  • A hybrid eclipse is a solar eclipse that produces either an annular or a total solar eclipse, depending on where you are relative to the Moon.
  • During a hybrid solar eclipse, the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, casting a shadow on Earth.
  • When the moon completely blocks the sun, it is called a total solar eclipse; when the moon blocks the sun but appears smaller, leaving the outline of the sun’s rings, it is called an annular eclipse. When both occur, it’s called a hybrid eclipse.
  • According to NASA, a hybrid eclipse starts with one type of eclipse and then transitions to another.
  • This happens because the Earth’s surface is curved and “sometimes the eclipse switches between annular and total as the Moon’s shadow moves across the globe.”
  • Hybrid eclipses occur only a few times each century.
This composite of three multiple exposure images shows the right-to-left transition of a hybrid solar eclipse seen on Sunday, November 3, 2013 over Lake Oloidien near Naivasha, Kenya.Rare solar eclipse engulfs the US, Africa and Europe with complete blackouts in parts and parts of other regions on Sunday
This composite of three multiple-exposure images shows the right-to-left transition of a hybrid solar eclipse seen over Lake Oloyden near Naivasha, Kenya, in 2013 [File: Ben Curtis/AP]

Where can I see a hybrid solar eclipse?

  • According to EarthSky, the central hybrid solar eclipse will begin at 02:37 GMT on Thursday and last until around 05:56 GMT.
  • During the eclipse, a total solar eclipse will be visible from Western Australia (up to one minute), East Timor (one minute and 14 seconds) and Indonesia (one minute and nine seconds), according to space publications.
  • A partial solar eclipse will be seen in Southeast Asia, the East Indies, Australia, the Philippines and New Zealand.
  • The partial eclipse begins at 1:34 GMT and ends at 6:59 GMT on April 20.

Is it safe to watch a solar eclipse?

  • NASA says it’s never safe to look directly at the sun’s rays, and it’s important to always wear eclipse glasses during a partial eclipse.
  • The same advice applies to a total solar eclipse until the sun is completely and completely obscured. However, it’s important to know when to stop looking and put your glasses back on.
  • NASA says homemade filters or regular sunglasses, even very dark ones, “are not safe for viewing the sun; they transmit thousands of times more sunlight.”
  • From 02:30 GMT, NASA will also stream the eclipse live via this link.
Total solar eclipse visible from northern Argentina's Patagonia region and Chilean araucaria
Total solar eclipse visible from Patagonia region in northern Argentina [File: Natacha Pisarenko/AP]

Are there any other lunar eclipses this year?

  • If you’re in Africa, Asia, or Australia, you may see a penumbral lunar eclipse on May 5. This means the moon will appear dimmer because it will be in Earth’s shadow.
  • On October 2, there will be an annular solar eclipse in South America.
  • On October 14, North, Central and South America will see another annular solar eclipse.
  • A partial lunar eclipse will occur on October 28, visible in parts of the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.
  • The next hybrid solar eclipse is expected to occur on November 14, 2031.
The leaves of a tree are seen against the moon during a partial lunar eclipse in Goyang, South Korea
The leaves of a tree are seen against the moon during a partial lunar eclipse in Goyang, South Korea [File: Lee Jin-man/AP]

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