Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Solar eclipse visible from Israel this Friday

Spring is upon us! The vernal equinox falls on this Friday, which is also Rosh Chodesh Nissan. In addition, a solar eclipse will be partly visible in Israel.  
The eclipse in Israel will only cover about 5% of the sun's disk, so it will not be noticeable to most people. In order to see it, you need a proper solar filter or some kind of projection device that you can easily make with binoculars,  cardboard or even a colander.

The eclipse will be visible from about 11:30AM to 12:30PM, with maximum coverage about 12:00 noon Jerusalem-time. At that point, the sun will look about like this:
You can see a full animation here 

The eclipse will be visible in its totality in the north Atlantic on a narrow band that ends right at the North Pole. The eclipse path will cross two pieces of dry land on the way, one of which is the Faroe Islands, and that is where I will be waiting to see it!

Although the eclipse there will be total for 2 minutes and 27 seconds, the weather is not nearly as nice in the Faroe Islands (between Iceland and Denmark), as it is here. :-(  The forecast shows about 50% chance of clouds and rain. However, even if the sky is entirely cloudy, I will be able to see the day become as dark as at dusk. Hopefully we will find some holes in the clouds. I am traveling with my friend, artist Neil Folberg, who is guaranteed to get some great photos of the landscape, if not of the eclipse.

This solar eclipse is paired with a lunar eclipse two weeks later on April 4th. It won't be visible from this half of the world, but your friends in the US will be able to see it. It will be the third of a series of four lunar eclipses that are all six months apart and occurring on either Pesach or Sukkot. Some of our Christian friends think these "Blood Moons" are a sign of the apocalypse!

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