Solar eclipse, Supermoon, spring equinox
First the aurora borealis and now a solar eclipse — what a week for skywatchers! Plus it occurs Friday (the first day of spring) and the same day as a Supermoon.
One caveat: The total eclipse will not be visible anywhere in the USA and will be seen only by folks on some rather remote islands in far northern Europe Friday morning. Residents of the Danish-owned Faroe Islands and the sparsely inhabited Norwegian island group of Svalbard will be the only lucky ones to see the full spectacle.
This is the Earth’s first — and only — total solar eclipse of the year and the first one since November 2013, NASA reports. The next total solar eclipse in the USA will be in August 2017.
There will be two lunar eclipses in the USA this year: April 4 and Sept. 28.
Two other astronomical events will take place Friday: the spring (or vernal) equinox, which marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and a so-called Supermoon.
The Supermoon is a full or new moon that occurs during the moon’s closest approach to Earth on its elliptical orbit, according to AccuWeather.
What makes it super? It’s when a full or new moon coincides with perigee — the moon’s closest point to Earth in its orbit. Basically, the Supermoon, when full, appears a bit bigger and brighter than usual in the night sky.
Since this Supermoon is during a new moon, it will not be visible, but it will block out the sun during the solar eclipse.
The spring equinox, when the sun shines directly on the equator, occurs at 6:45 p.m. ET Friday.
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