There is an appointment with a ring of fire in the sky on Sunday, February 26 in the first solar eclipse of 2017, appearing as a thin bright ring. The phenomenon is visible from South America, South Chile, Argentina, Africa, Angola and Zambia.
The eclipse lasts a total of 2.5 hours. Not much, considering the record of 14 December 1955, when the Moon was silhouetted against the solar disk for 12 minutes and 9 seconds, winning the longest eclipse primacy of the second millennium. Although not visible from India, we will be able to observe the eclipse in the live streaming, organized by NASA.
Despite being directly aligned between Earth and the Sun, in the annular eclipse the Moon can not fully hide the Sun, as occurs in total eclipses, but leaves it visible on the outside edge. This will be the first taste of the eclipse this year. In August, in fact, there will be two more, a partial lunar and total solar eclipse.
The total eclipse of the Sun is scheduled for August 21 and will be a momentous event, however, visible in the United States, from the North-West and South-East. The eclipses of the Moon, will be on August 7, and will also be visible in parts of Europe. Instead we have to wait January 2018 to observe total lunar eclipse.
The Lunar eclipse is coming, in the night between February 10 and 11, which is also called the Snow Moon, that is simply the full moon in February. The name is derived from the Native American tradition, because it was considered the brightest full moon of the year, as it shines on the white landscape covered with snow. Moreover, given the difficulty that the weather conditions imposed on hunting, it was also called the Hunger Moon.
This lunar eclipse is a must watch because we can admire a penumbral eclipse of the moon and observe a comet. Here's everything you need to know. On Saturday, February 11 the comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková, named after the discoverers, will pass 11.8 million kilometers from our planet, and will be visible with simple binoculars or through a small telescope in the constellation of Hercules, to the east. It will reach a brightness at the edge of naked-eye visibility (6th magnitude) during the last hours of darkness before dawn, between 9 and 12 February.
The characteristic of 45P is its intense green color. This is the eighth closest approach to the Earth of a comet from 1950, when the technology has allowed the data collections. Between 10 and 11 February, we will see a penumbral eclipse of the moon and the phenomenon will be visible in Europe and also in Africa, parts of North and South America and parts of Asia. It may not be very spectacular, as there will be a slight decrease in brightness of the lunar disk and is not the most famous red moon of the total lunar eclipse, but it will be a show not to be missed.
What is a penumbral eclipse?
During a total lunar eclipse, the observer can see the Moon take on a reddish color as it passes in the shadow of the Earth. During a penumbral eclipse, the Sun's light is blocked only by the shadow outside of the planet, the penumbra. The Moon is then obscured by the shadow cast by the Earth, which is always wider than the Moon, and is accompanied by another cone even bigger called penumbra cone.
Lunar eclipses generally occur when the Moon passes through the Earth's shadow, during the full moon and clearly do not occur every month for the fact that the satellite's orbit is tilted with respect to Earth. When the Moon, the Earth and the Sun are aligned, the result is the eclipse, which is partial and penumbral when the alignment is not entirely accurate.
The sky will offer another one of its must-see astronomical shows that holds for us in 2017. The next event is scheduled in the night between 10 and 11 February, when the moon will conceal the gloom of our planet. A noteworthy event, and especially in view of the fact that the next total lunar eclipse is scheduled for January 31, 2018.
The performance will take place starting at 23.32 on Friday, when the lunar disk will appear slightly darker than usual because the satellite will pass in the cone of the Earth's penumbra. It happens when the sun, earth and moon are aligned in that order. In practice, the moon passes through the shadow cast by the earth but passes in its twilight zone.
The peak will be 1.43 and the show will end after about two hours. The eclipse will be visible not only in our country also in the rest of Europe, in Africa, in eastern America and Western Asia. In the following days, for the whole month of February, there will conjunctions with Jupiter, just behind Valentine, between 14 and 15, then Saturn (20) and Venus (28).
The Moon and the Sun will enjoy playing hide and seek with the Earth in February, giving birth to two eclipses as the Moon will conceal you in the shadows of our planet in the night between 10 and 11 February, and on 26 February will be the turn of the Sun, which will stage an annular eclipse visible only in the southern hemisphere. Also not to be missed is the appointment with the comet 45P and the planets Mars, Venus and Uranus, engaged in various heavenly pursuits.
Moon, which will begin the month meeting Mars and Venus (February 1) and Pleiades (4 to 5 February), on February 5 will hide Aldebaran and brightest star in the constellation Taurus temporarily disappear behind our natural satellite. Still the Moon will be great protagonist with eclipse in the night between February 10 and 11. The show will be visible from Italy, although it will not be striking: starting from 23:32 hours on the full Moon disk will appear slightly darker than usual, because the satellite will pass in the cone of the Earth's penumbra. The peak you will have to 1:43 and will end after a couple of hours. Later, the moon will continue to give life to other conjunctions with Jupiter (February 14 to 15), Saturn (February 20) and Venus (28 February).
At the end of the month there will be a rendezvous between Mars and Uranus but the phenomenon will be interesting to follow in the days preceding it, from February 23 onwards until 27 evening. The two planets will be fairly low on the horizon, so we recommend the observation just after sunset. Mars, together with Venus, can still be observed in the early evening, while Jupiter is about to return in the evening skies. We can see it already on the eastern horizon around midnight and with the passing of the weeks will rise increasingly earlier.
The February 26 meeting with the annular eclipse of the Sun and the ring of fire will be visible only in Antarctica and in the southern part of Africa and South America, while the boundaries of this area will be partial eclipse.