Thursday morning, the Sun has an appointment with the Moon… but with respect for social distancing!
From 11:13 am, in Paris, the star of the night will pass in front of that of the day, however this eclipse will only be visible very partially in metropolitan France: the solar disk will only be crunched in its upper part.
If it won't be dark in broad daylight, let's not sulk, because there will be no total eclipse in Europe before 2026 and in France before 2081!
It will be an annular solar eclipse on Thursday.
In regions where observation of the phenomenon is optimal (northeastern Canada, northwestern Greenland, eastern Russia), the Earth, the Moon and the Sun will be in the same axis, but the Moon is currently too far away and its apparent diameter too small to completely cover the star.
In the zone of maximum visibility, we will observe a “ring of fire”, hence the qualifier “annular” associated with this type of eclipses.
What will we see in France?
In mainland France, it is in Brest that the partial eclipse will be the most visible, since the Sun will be occluded there by 17.8%, at the maximum of the event, around noon, according to the Paris-PSL Observatory. This obscuration will be 15.9% in Lille, 15.2% in Rouen, 13.2% in Paris, but only 5.2% in Toulouse, 2.7% in Marseille and 0.2%. in Ajaccio. "There will be no noticeable drop in luminosity", specifies Florent Deleflie, astronomer at the Institute of Celestial Mechanics and Ephemeris Calculation (IMCCE). Depending on the position of the observers, the maximum will be between 11:55 am and 12:20 pm.
But it is the inhabitants of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, an archipelago located near Canada, who will be the most spoiled since the Sun will be 67.1% obscured there at 7:34 am local time.
Between the first and the last "contacts" it will take about two hours.
How to observe the phenomenon?
"The Sun will be no less dangerous on Thursday than on any other day," warns Florent Deleflie. “You should never look directly at the Sun and even less in an instrument not suitable for that. »The curious can get glasses specially designed for eclipses, from stores specializing in optical instruments. “It's always useful, even if on Thursday we won't see much, because the phenomenon is limited and you can be a little dazzled while watching. Please note: new glasses must be purchased. If there is ever a microcrack, it can be catastrophic for the eyesight. The damage is truly irreversible. "
The easiest way to look at the Sun in complete safety is to make an eclipse box, from a shoebox for example.
A very fine hole pierced with a needle will allow the light to pass which will come to project on the bottom of the box.
This indirect observation by projection will be done with your back to the Sun.
The Paris Observatory also offers to follow the event live on its YouTube channel.
Two instruments positioned in Meudon (Hauts-de-Seine) and Nançay (Cher) will increase the chances of seeing the event in the event of bad weather at one of the sites.
And the next ones?
Ahead of this event, the Institute of Celestial Mechanics of the Observatory of Paris has put online an interactive platform with maps and animations allowing to know the global and local conditions of observation of all solar eclipses until 2100! We thus learn that there will be a more or less similar one, on October 25, 2022. It will be visible at 19% in Strasbourg. As for the partial eclipse of March 29, 2025, all of metropolitan France will be able to contemplate it. The people of Brest will even see a third of the solar disk obscured. But the most beautiful spectacle to come is the eclipse of August 12, 2026. Total in northern Spain, it will be 92% visible in Paris and even 99% in Pau!