One month from today, the first solar eclipse of 2022 will occur when a maximum of 54% of the sun will be occluded by the moon during a special “sunset eclipse” of parts of the southern hemisphere.
The event on Saturday, April 30, 2022, a partial eclipse covering parts of Antarctica and western South America, is not considered a major event by eclipse hunters – most of whom are saving their money to travel to see a chilling beautiful eclipse to see solar eclipse – but that hasn’t stopped some dedicated “umbraphiles” from catching up on eclipse trips lost to COVID-19.
“I’m planning to travel to Viña del Mar, near Santiago, Chile,” says Jay Pasachoff, a professor of astronomy at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts and a veteran observer of solar eclipses. From his viewing position, Pasachoff – for whom this will be his 75th eclipse – will see a 28% partial eclipse beginning about 90 minutes before sunset and eventually sinking into the Pacific Ocean while still slightly eclipsed.
Create a slight “horned sun” effect when, when the clouds play along, the two limbs of an eclipsed sun are separately visible on the horizon. It’s a relatively rare sight for eclipse observers.
Pasachoff is looking forward to returning to the Southern Hemisphere so soon after witnessing December’s total solar eclipse from an airplane over Antarctica. “This April 30th is another Antarctic eclipse, but I won’t go that far south,” he says. “For a partial eclipse, seeing a bit of it is good enough.”
Also, the maximum of this eclipse will occur in the Drake Passage between mainland South America and Antarctica – and certainly just after the Antarctic cruise season. Another place that cannot be visited is Easter Island, which is currently closed to visitors due to COVID-19.
However, it will be possible to observe a rather unusual optical effect from anywhere along the path of the eclipse. “It seems interesting that the shadow of the moon, also called a solar eclipse, jumps back and forth between the north and south poles,” he says.
That’s because of the geometry. During the eclipse, the moon appears to cross the top half of the sun from left to right—south to north—before dipping below the horizon.
“This partial solar eclipse occurs at sunset in South America, which offers several opportunities for particularly atmospheric sunset images,” said Jörg Schoppmeyer, an eclipse hunter from Germany. Schoppmeyer is in shape after photographing an eclipsed sun near the horizon in Goa, India in 2007. He also captured video of a rare flash of purple as an eclipsed sunset as seen on Oahu, Hawaii in 2004. “In the video you can see continuous flashes of green and blue, and as the final tip descends into the water, there’s also a purple flash,” he said. He hopes to create something similar out of Chile on April 30th.
Although there will be no total eclipses in 2022, Eurasia will have a second partial eclipse. On Tuesday 25th October 2022 in the UK around 15% of the Sun will be blocked by the Moon, while in Russia it will be closer to 80% near maximum. “Kazakhstan has a large coverage,” says Pasachoff. “But I think I’ll stick with Oslo.
I wish you clear skies and big eyes.