November 6, 2013
A Little Hybrid Solar Eclipse With Your Sunday
When I was a little girl in the 1980s, I saw a solar eclipse, a total solar eclipse…well, at least I think it was a total solar eclipse. We made these little foil things, with a pinhole where we watched the sun’s light be covered by the moon. We also had proper eye wear to look up when our teachers told us we could. It was truly awesome, literally evoking awe within me.
Some people may have had the opportunity to look at a hybrid solar eclipse on Sunday, November 3, 2013, according to redOrbit. For those who live in far-eastern North America, the Caribbean, northern South America, southern Greenland, the Atlantic Ocean, southern Europe, Africa, Madagascar and the Middle East, Sunday between sunrise and sunset provided an opportunity to view the hybrid solar eclipse.
And just what is that? According to NASA, a hybrid solar eclipse happens when “some sections of the path are annular while other parts are total. The duality comes about when the vertex of the Moon’s umbral shadow pierces Earth’s surface at some locations, but falls short of the planet along other sections of the path.” In other words, this type of solar eclipse is both partial and total. Usually this means that many places will see the partial eclipse while some will see a brief total eclipse. Interesting, right?
Now back to redOrbit. The uniqueness of a hybrid eclipse becomes clearer when we understand that less than five percent of the 12,000 solar eclipses recorded since 1999 BC have been a hybrid eclipse. Moreover, the last hybrid eclipse happened in 2005, and the next hybrid is projected to occur in 2025 as mr.eclipse.com suspects (this is the website that NASA took me to…go figure.).
I would have loved to have been where I could have seen this hybrid solar eclipse. Part of that is because it is so rare an event, but also that is because solar eclipses are just so incredible. I still have very distinct memories of going outside during the school day with my little foil room to watch the two circular entities move together. I remember the excitement building as I watched the two dots and then the release of that excitement when my teacher told us to put on our glasses and look up at the eclipse. It stunned me to see it.
I felt like I was watching magic happen. We were all enthralled by this scientific event. It was incredible.
I am sure the images from the hybrid eclipse were stunning. A quick Google search brought images from accuweather.com and a live video on YouTube not to mention a surfeit of webpages with information and images. Since I do not live on the east coast, I guess these will just have to do for me this time. Maybe some day soon, I will be somewhere to view another eclipse, be it partial, annular, total, or hybrid. That would definitely be a good day.
For more great information about solar eclipses, check out redOrbit’s solar eclipse topic page. You will not be disappointed.
Image Credit: Thinkstock