Is it that time of year again? Almost exactly halfway through Spring, and the world is about to see its first solar eclipse of 2022.
Well, actually, we should probably say halfway through Autumn, since the eclipse will only be visible in the Southern hemisphere – so readers in South American countries or Antarctica should turn their (suitably protected) eyes skyward this Saturday, April 30, for the first partial solar eclipse and first of four eclipses happening this year. The rest of you, don't worry, it will be live streamed too, so you won't miss out.
The partial solar eclipse should be visible in Chile, Argentina, most of Uruguay, western Paraguay, southwestern Bolivia, southeastern Peru, and a bit of southwestern Brazil, NASA reports. You’ll also be able to see the Moon take a big old chomp out of the Sun if you’re located on the northwestern coastline of Antarctica, in the Atlantic Ocean just off the southeastern coast of South America, or somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean and Southern Ocean.
If you aren’t currently in any of those locations, though, don’t worry: you’ll be able to live stream the event from the comfort of your own home here. The eclipse will occur between 6:45 pm and 10:37 pm UTC, per TimeAndDate.com, which translates to between 2:45 pm and 6:37 pm EDT, or 7:45 pm and 11:37 pm BST. TimeAndDate is also live streaming the event here.
As ever, if you plan on watching it live and in-person, remember to stay safe: use special solar viewing or eclipse glasses if you want to face the Sun, or else use an indirect viewing method like a pinhole camera.
“It is never safe to look directly at the Sun without a safe solar filter, even if the Sun is partly or mostly obscured,” cautions NASA. “Solar viewing or eclipses glasses are NOT regular sunglasses; regular sunglasses are not safe for viewing the Sun.”
This will be the first of four eclipses in 2022, so if you miss it, don’t worry: there’ll be three more chances to see solar and lunar eclipses later this year. In fact, thanks to the particular way the heavens have to be set up for an eclipse to occur at all, you won’t even have to wait that long: the next eclipse will be a total lunar eclipse on the night of May 16.
“Most years have four eclipses: the minimum number of eclipses in a year; 2 of these four eclipses are always solar eclipses. While rare, the maximum number of eclipses that can take place in a calendar year is seven,” explains TimeAndDate.
“There are two or three eclipses during every eclipse season. At least one of these is always a solar eclipse, sometimes two. The same is true for lunar eclipses … solar and lunar eclipses come in pairs – a solar eclipse always takes place either about two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse, and vice versa.”
Failing that, you’ll have to wait a little longer for the next solar eclipse – it’s not due till October 25, when it will be visible for most of Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East, and western parts of Asia.