By Vanshika Thakur
The summer solstice is an annual astronomical phenomenon that brings the Northern Hemisphere‘s longest day of the year and the first day of summer (and the shortest night). In many ancient societies, the solstice has been an important cultural event, and it remains one for certain contemporary groups and are a beautiful cosmic event to experience.
In 2020, the June solstice is on Saturday, June 20, at 5:44 P.M. EDT. This date marks the official beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, as Earth orbits the sun each year its axis always points in space in the same direction. That means that for half the year, the Northern Hemisphere is angled towards the sun and the other half is angled away from the sun.
But undoubtedly, solar eclipses are occurrences of great interest in nature. Using our natural eyes we will gaze confidently at lunar eclipses. Yet looking at the solar eclipse with naked eyes is never safe. Bare-eyed viewing of the eclipse can cause severe eye damage. To prevent any damage to the eyes, view the solar eclipse through a special telescope, or eclipse goggles.
The solstice officially marks the beginning of the astronomical summer which ends on September 22 when the autumn equinox occurs. Day and night on this day, when the sun reaches the celestial equator and travels south into the northern hemisphere, will be nearly equal in time.
Earth experiences two solstices in a year — summer and winter solstice with the latter occurring when the Earth is tilting the farthest away from the sun. Solar eclipses are of three types — the total solar eclipse when the moon covers the sun entirely, the annular solar eclipse when the moon is smaller than the sun and you see a ring of fire on its edges and the partial solar eclipse which only partially blocks the sun.
As per the data, on Sunday, 21 June 2020, the Annular Solar Eclipse will begin at 9:15 am. The eclipse‘s peak phase will occur at 12:10 pm, and the eclipse will close at about 3:04 pm. The entire eclipse will have a total duration of around six hours.
What is so rare about this summer solstice solar eclipse that the last time this occurred was in the year 2001 — 19 years ago that too on June 21, 2001, and before that, it occurred in the year 1982 — June 21, 1982. And the next time it is expected to occur is in the year 2039 on — you guessed it right — June 21. So it is pretty rare.
Solar eclipse and lunar eclipse are spectacular events when the Sun and Moon are hidden from view partially or fully for a brief period of time. Eclipses occur when Sun, Moon, and the Earth come in a straight line.
Eclipses evoke the interest of people since each eclipse is unique and people get to enjoy a highly unique kind of view of the Sun and Moon. Notably, no two eclipses look the same and there is something special about every eclipse we will come across. Hence Eclipses are special days for sky viewers.