Sky observers are busy getting ready for the second solar eclipse of the year coming on July 11 after they recently watched the first lunar eclipse of the year on June 26.
The lunar eclipse this week was seen from the Americas, the Pacific Ocean and eastern Asia, however, it was only a partial eclipse of the moon. The lunar eclipse occurs when the moon comes behind the Earth and thus is not exposed to the light of the sun.
The coming solar eclipse will create a total eclipse along a narrow line in the southern hemisphere. A solar eclipse occurs when Earth, moon and sun come in a single line and moon comes between the Earth and the Sun.
NASA solar astronomer Mitzi Adams of the Marshall Space Flight Center said that a lunar eclipse lasts for a few hours while a solar eclipse happens only for a few minutes. NASA organized a webcast to give more information about the phenomenon.
Adams said that the solar eclipse with the longest duration was only for seven minutes. The First solar eclipse of the year on January 15 was longer however it was not a total eclipse. It was seen from Asia and lasted for about eight minutes.
Adams warned against the dangers of watching an eclipse through a telescope and recommended that sky watchers must use a proper filter.
“The safest way is through a method called projection, where you actually take the eyepiece out and project the image onto a sheet of paper behind the telescope, without looking at the sun. You move the sheet of paper back and forth until you get a focused image,” she said.
The next lunar eclipse is expected to occur on December 21 and could be seen in the US.