China science

Solar eclipse will be visible in northern China on Saturday

Celestial phenomenon will be the only one of its kind viewable in China this year

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 August, 2018, 3:02pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 August, 2018, 10:24pm

People in northern China will on Saturday afternoon get to experience the only solar eclipse visible to the country this year.

A partial solar eclipse visible to major parts of the northern hemisphere will start in the early hours of August 11, Greenwich Mean Time, according to US space agency Nasa.

The eclipse – the third and last the Earth will see in 2018 – will be the only solar eclipse visible in China this year, according to the Chinese Astronomical Society.

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The shadow will move from Greenland, part of North America to northern Europe and northeastern Asia.

Northern China and eastern Russia will be able to view it in the afternoon local time.

“In some parts of the Arctic Ocean, if people are there, they will be able to see 70 per cent coverage at the height of the eclipse,” said Zuo Wenwen of the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory. “In most places in China, people will see part or the whole process of the partial solar eclipse.”

Regions at higher latitudes will witness a larger shadow of the moon, according to Jay Pasachoff, an astronomy professor and director of the Hopkins Observatory at Williams College in the United States.

For example, Harbin in China’s northeastern Heilongjiang province will see a 48 per cent shadow at around 6.39pm local time, according to a map made by France-based solar eclipse observer Xavier Jubier.

Pasachoff said he would be in Kiruna, Sweden to see the eclipse.

“You can get to 65 per cent or more by going farther north, such as Yakutsk in Siberia, Russia, but I am content with 25 per cent in northern Sweden,” he said.

People in Shanghai get to see the final part of the eclipse at sunset. From this location, it will last 11 minutes.

The partial eclipse will be a small eclipse as the moon will cover only the edge of the sun, with much of the star still visible.

It can also be seen over northern Canada, northeastern US, Greenland, Scandinavia, Siberia and some parts of central Asia, according to Nasa.

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“Viewers shouldn’t look skyward at the eclipse without protective glasses,” said Shi Zhicheng, a member of the Chinese Astronomical Society. “It can cause eye damage.”

A solar eclipse is a celestial phenomenon that occurs when the moon, the sun and the Earth are aligned in a straight line, while in a lunar eclipse, the Earth comes in between the moon and the sun. If the moon is positioned between the Earth and the sun, a solar eclipse takes place.