June 25, 2024

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A rare hybrid solar eclipse has appeared for the first time in a decade

Sky watchers can see – or be seen – a rare celestial event tonight.

You may have heard of a total solar eclipse or even an annular solar eclipse. On Wednesday night, a rare hybrid solar eclipse will occur — switching between a total and annular eclipse depending on the observer’s location on Earth.

Hybrid eclipses are rare among eclipses and only happen a few times a century, according to EarthSky. Of the 224 solar eclipses in the 21st century, seven will be hybrids. After Wednesday night, the next hybrid eclipse will begin 2031.

  • The eclipse will begin at 9:36 p.m. ET.
  • You will be first to be clear in the Indian Ocean and then transitioning into the Pacific Ocean, providing the best views of those in Western Australia, East Timor, and the eastern Indonesian islands.
  • The moon will completely cover the sun for more than 1 minute in Timor at 12:16 a.m. ET.
  • The hybrid eclipse will end at 2:59 a.m. ET on April 20.

What is a hybrid eclipse?

A hybrid eclipse is a combination of a total and annular eclipse.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between our planet and the sun, and the moon completely blocks the sun. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between our planet and the sun, but the moon is at its farthest point from Earth. Because the Moon is farther away, it appears smaller than the Sun and cannot completely cover the star, leaving a ring of light from the Sun.

During a hybrid eclipse, the curvature of the Earth results in a different view across the globe, as the eclipse switches between a total eclipse and an annular eclipse, According to NASA.

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  • The eclipse will start at 9:36 p.m. ET on April 19 and end at 2:59 a.m. ET on April 20, according to in the sky.

Where can you watch the eclipse?

The hybrid eclipse will not be visible in the continental United States, but it is there Many free live streams online.

The moon’s shadow will move across western Australia, East Timor and Indonesia, changing from an annular eclipse to a total eclipse and then back again. More countries will see a partial eclipse with the moon blocking only part of the sun, including Papua New Guinea, the French Southern Territories and the Marshall Islands, according to Space.com.

When is the next celestial event?

US residents may miss seeing the hybrid eclipse firsthand, but they can look forward to the next totality eclipse viewable from North America, which will sweep across skies from Texas to Illinois to Maine on April 8, 2024.