- June 8, 2021 - Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan : Astronomical News
A ring of the Sun in northern Québec
In the early hours of June 10, the Sun will take the form of a ring for residents of Québec’s far north. A magnificent annular eclipse of the Sun will be visible for a few minutes. A rare phenomenon that will also be partly visible in the south of the province.
What an eclipse is
An eclipse involves the interaction of three celestial bodies: the Sun, the Moon and the Earth. When the three bodies are perfectly aligned, we’re presented with an eclipse.
A solar eclipse is one of the most beautiful observable astronomical phenomena. It takes place in special circumstances: when the Moon is positioned in front of the Sun and obscures it momentarily. This can only happen during the new moon.
As the Moon’s orbit is slightly tilted in comparison with the orbit of the Earth, an eclipse does not occur with every new moon. Most of the time, the shadow cast by the Moon passes over or under the Earth.
It sometimes happens that the Moon passes exactly between the Earth and the Sun. In that case, the Moon’s shadow sweeps over a part of our planet’s surface. People situated in the umbra (the shadow) will then see the Sun be eclipsed. Those living around the umbra will see the Moon hide only a part of the Sun. They’ll be seeing a partial eclipse of the Sun.
A wonderful stroke of luck
The Moon is 400 times smaller than the Sun, but is located 400 times closer to the Earth than the Sun. It’s that coincidence that makes it possible for us to observe solar eclipses.
In addition, with the orbit of the Moon taking the form of an ellipse, the Moon’s distance from the Earth varies continuously. In a solar eclipse, if the Moon is found at the furthest point of its orbit, it will not mask the Sun entirely. A thin ring of the solar disk will still be visible, creating an annular eclipse.
The eclipse of June 10
That’s what will occur on June 10. The Moon’s shadow will cross northern Canada, the North Pole and Siberia. The annular eclipse will last a maximum of 3 minutes and 52 seconds, in Nares Strait off Ellesmere Island.
In Chisasibi, in northern Québec, partial phases of the eclipse will start five minutes after sunrise, meaning at 04:56:46. The eclipse will be annular at 05:52:46 and will last two minutes and 46 seconds. The eclipse will end at 6:55 a.m.
In southern Québec, we’ll be able to observe a partial eclipse. In Montréal, the eclipse will already have begun when the Sun rises at 5:07 a.m. At the peak of the eclipse, 79 percent of the Sun will be hidden. The eclipse will end at 6:39 a.m.
To find out the exact circumstances of the eclipse in your area, you’re invited to consult the following page:
In closing, let me remind you that the Sun must never be observed directly, even in cases of a partial eclipse, without a proper solar filter.