Friday the 13th may be an eerie day for the superstitious, but for cosmic aficionados, it will be a night of beauty. The Moon will “take a bite” out of the Sun in a celestial phenomenon that has not fallen on this ominous date for 44 years.
So how can you see it? Well, first a bit of luck or some travel is needed. The partial solar eclipse will be visible for those on the southeastern coast of Australia, Tasmania, Stewart Island, and the northern coast of Antarctica, according to Space.com.
A solar eclipse occurs when the Earth, Moon, and Sun align in such a way that Earth moves through the Moon’s shadow. On Friday, July 13, our blue planet will move through the Moon’s penumbra, giving the appearance that our lunar orb has taken a nibble out of the Sun.
Most of this eclipse will occur over the open Southern Ocean. For those in Hobart, Tasmania, 3.5 percent of the solar disk will be covered. Unfortunately for those in Geelong, Victoria, that figure dwindles to less than 1 percent.
On the northern coast of Antarctica, 21 percent of the Sun’s disk will be eclipsed. There’s an emperor penguin colony out there, so they'll probably have the best seats on the planet to watch the show.
This time around the Moon will also be a supermoon, which is when the satellite is closer than usual to Earth. On Friday, it will be as close as 357,430 kilometers (222,097 miles) to the planet.
A solar eclipse always happens two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse. This time around, the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century will occur on July 27, 2018, for a grand total of 1 hour and 43 minutes. To make the event even more special, the Moon will turn a shade of crimson in a phenomenon known as a “blood moon”.
For a full rundown of local times to view the eclipse, head over to EarthSky.
If you miss this one, well the next solar eclipse on Friday the 13th won’t be until September 13, 2080.