The first solar eclipse of 2022 will occur tonight, April 30; and while North Americans cannot catch a natural view this time around, they can watch online. South Americans in countries like Chile, Peru, Argentina, and Bolivia get to enjoy the best natural view of the eclipse. Any brave souls hanging around Antarctica will also be treated to a stunning view, scientists say.
Most of the rest of the hemisphere, including the U.S., Canada, as well as Europe will have to wait until October for a glimpse at the moon passing over the sun.
According to NASA’s website, eclipses vary based on the positioning of the massive constellations.
“A solar eclipse happens when the Moon moves between the Sun and Earth, casting a shadow on Earth, fully or partially blocking the Sun’s light in some areas,” the website reads. “During a partial eclipse, the Moon and Sun do not perfectly align; so the Moon does not completely cover the Sun. This gives the Sun a crescent shape, or makes it appear as if a ‘bite’ has been taken out of the Sun depending on how much of the Sun is covered by the Moon.”
As much as 64 percent of the Sun’s visible mass will disappear during tonight’s eclipse, according to scientists, making it a partial eclipse. NASA expects the next total solar eclipse almost exactly two years from now, on April 8, 2024, the New York Post reports.
If you want to catch the eclipse as it unfolds, NASA plans to live-stream the event. Viewers can catch the action on both NASA’s YouTube channel and government website.
Popular Indian-based space YouTube channel Gyaan ki gareebi Live will begin live-streaming when the eclipse begins, too.
The April 30, 2022 solar eclipse is the first of four eclipses this year
This year, humans on Earth will experience four eclipses: two of the sun and two of the moon. A solar eclipse only happens during a new moon phase. In that phase, the sun, moon, and Earth align in a straight line. During this upcoming solar eclipse, the dark shadow cone of the moon will completely miss the Earth. The cone will actually pass approximately 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) below the South Pole. But viewers can still see the overlap, even if the shadow does not drape over Earth.
A ship near the coast of Chile — where the moon’s shadow cone will come closest to Earth’s center — will see the sun barely clear the western horizon. The normally thick haze on the horizon could lessen the density of the sun’s light. The resulting shift in light gives the horizon the appearance of a slice of cantaloupe melon.
Most importantly, if you find yourself within a viewing zone of this or any other solar eclipse, never look directly at the sun without specialty eye protection.