Covered star: partial Sun eclipse observed in Poland

On Thursday, an annular eclipse occurred most visibly in Canada, Greenland, the North Pole and the eastern tip of Asia. In Poland it appeared around noon as a partial eclipse. The spectacular phenomenon was best seen in the northern part of the country, but it was possible to admire it in other parts of the country.

Solar eclipses occur when the Moon moves around the Earth in the Sun-Earth line of sight. It is then on the new moon; since its orbit is not perfectly circular and has a certain inclination with respect to the plane of the Earth’s orbit around the sun, eclipses do not occur at every new moon.

The most spectacular are the eclipses when the entire solar disc is covered, and we can see the solar corona all around. When part of the disc remains visible, it is called a partial eclipse.

There are also eclipses known as annular eclipses or “ring of fire”. This type of eclipse will occur today. In an annular eclipse, the entire Moon obscures the Sun, but the Moon is too far from our planet, and the angular size of its disc visible in the sky is smaller than that of the Sun’s disc. There is a bright ring around the Moon’s dark disc.

To see a partial eclipse, we need a way to weaken the sun’s light because our star's glow, even when obscured, is blinding. It is forbidden to look at the Sun with binoculars or a telescope; if they are not equipped with appropriate filters, it may cause damage or blindness.

From the perspective of a single location, total eclipses are really rare, statistically occurring in one area every 370 years. In Poland, the last total eclipse was visible in 1954 in Suwałki and Sejny (North-eastern Poland) and the next one will be in 2075. In turn, one will have to wait for an annular eclipse visible from our country until 2135.