Solar eclipses are a beautiful cosmic event to experience. And 2020 is going to have a rare summer solstice eclipse which doesn't happen every other day on Earth.
Remember, if you try to see any solar eclipse, it's important to never see it directly with your naked eyes, as you can permanently damage your eyes in the process.
Now, let's get back to the interesting celestial event. Earth will witness a rare solar eclipse this weekend. While solar eclipses aren’t rare per se (we can see as many as five solar eclipses in a year), this one is rare because it is falling on the summer solstice.
What is summer solstice?
The summer solstice, to put it in the simplest way possible, is the longest day of the year. The summer solstice occurs when Earth, orbiting the sun, reaches its maximum tilt towards the sun. 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.
Summer solstice solar eclipse
Solar eclipses are of three types -- the total solar eclipse when the moon covers the sun entirely, annular solar eclipse a when the moon is smaller than the sun and you see a ring of fire on its edges and partial solar eclipse which only partially blocks the sun.
The summer solstice solar eclipse is going to be an annular solar eclipse, when the moon will be at the farthest point from Earth, making it appear smaller than the sun.
Where will summer solstice solar eclipse be visible?
The summer solstice solar eclipse will be visible in the northern hemisphere in Africa and Asia. The UK, US and most of Europe might not get to experience the solar eclipse.
Summer solstice solar eclipse in Middle East - June 21st 2020
Saudi Arabia - Begin at 7:10 AM., Maximum 8:23 AM, Ends 9:49 AM
Kuwait - Begin at 7:19 AM., Maximum 8:32 AM, Ends 9:56 AM
Qatar - Begin at 7:12 AM., Maximum 8:30 AM, Ends 10:02 AM
UAE - Begin at 8:14 AM., Maximum 9:36 AM, Ends 11:12 AM
Bahrain - Begin at 7:14 AM., Maximum 8:30 AM, Ends 10:00 AM
Why is summer solstice solar eclipse rare?
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.
On the other hand, with moon cycling through its phases, every 29.53 days and 3.4 percent of all solstices will have a new Moon phase in 12 hours of the moment of maximum tilt. Since we have two solstices, the probability only rises to 13.5 percent, making it not very rare for a moon to coincide with a solstice.
Summer solstice solar eclipse: Safety precautions
Like every solar eclipse, this one is going to be equally legendary. At the same time, it is going to be equally harmful for the eyes.
You will need proper solar eclipse glasses to actually look straight at the sun and admire its beauty. In case you wanted to prop your DSLR to capture the phenomenon, make sure you have the solar eclipse filter or you’ll end up damaging your sensor with the sun’s rays.
To be on the safest side though, watch the eclipse through a live stream. Timeanddate.com will be conducting one on their website, as will many other YouTube channels, so experience it safely and responsibly.