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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Earthsky Tonight: January 15, 2010 – New moon and solar eclipse on January 15

Courtesy of EarthSky
A Clear Voice for Science

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Solar Eclipse as seen in China

The first of this year’s 2 solar eclipses takes place today, on January 15, 2010. The second solar eclipse will fall on July 11, 2010. Neither eclipse, though, is visible from North America. If you are in a position to observe today’s eclipse, remember to use proper eye protection.

Many people in Africa and Asia will see a partial eclipse of the sun today. But to view the annular eclipse – the moon completely encircled by a thin ring of sunshine – you have to be situated along the long yet very narrow annular eclipse path that winds from central Africa to eastern China. Our chart shows you the annular eclipse as seen from Luoyang, China this late afternoon.

A solar eclipse happens whenever the new moon passes in front of the sun. Keep in mind, however, that there isn’t a solar eclipse at new moon every month. Of this year’s 12 new moons, only the January 2010 new moon and the July 2010 new moon swing in between the Earth and sun.

As seen from Earth, the new moons from February through June 2010 will sweep north of the sun – meaning no solar eclipses are possible during these 5 months. On the other hand, the new moons from August through December 2010 will swing south of the sun – meaning no solar eclipses are possible during the last 5 months of 2010.

Written by Bruce McClure

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