Annular Solar Eclipse in Northern Sri Lanka | Sunday Observer

Annular Solar Eclipse in Northern Sri Lanka

A solar eclipse takes place when the Sun is covered by the Moon. An annular eclipse, when a ring of light around the darkened moon is visible will take place on December 26, 2019. This eclipse will be visible in Jaffna on the day following Christmas and move in a northerly direction. It will be visible as an annular eclipse to those in the far north and as a partial eclipse to those living south of Kilinochchi.

This annular eclipse visible on December 26 starts from Dammam in Saudi Arabia around 8 a.m. and travels across the Indian Ocean and southern India and goes over northern Sri Lanka. When this eclipse takes place, the moon will be about 400,000 km away from earth and will be moving at a speed of 1 km per second or 3,600 km per hour.

The centre line of this annular eclipse in our country runs from Mannar to Vakare. The eclipse which enters the Island from Mannar will be visible in Jaffna at 9.34 a.m. and will last only 4 minutes. Thus it will end at 9.38 a.m. The previous annular eclipse which took place on January 15, 2010 was visible in Jaffna for about 10 minutes. But this time it will be limited to less than 4 minutes.

This annular eclipse which starts in Saudi Arabia goes over northern Sri Lanka and again over the Indian Ocean to Indonesia and ends around 12.30 p.m. above the Pacific Ocean. In Indonesia the path of the eclipse falls over the island of Sumatra. The eclipse will last for a total of five hours.

In Sri Lanka below the town of Kilinochchi it will be visible as a partial eclipse. Those living in the Anuradhapura area will see about 87% of the Sun covered by the Moon whereas people in Colombo will see about 84% of the sun covered.

According to astronomy both the Sun and the Moon will be in the constellation of Sagittarius on December 26. In the annual movement of the Sun across the Zodiac, the Sun is always in ‘Sagittarius’ from December 22 to January 19. The peculiarity of this date is that another five planets namely Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto will also be in ‘Sagittarius’. Further, since Mars will be in ‘Scorpio’ during this period, it will affect the weather not only in our country but throughout the world.

- Anura C. Perera

Astronomer

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