Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring Equinox Day Solar Eclipse This Morning

Total solar eclipse
Time of totality during a Total Solar Eclipse or Total Eclipse of the Sun in France in 1999.
(Image Source: , Photographer: I, Luc Viatour )

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Today, Friday, 2015 March 20, marks the beginning of the season of Spring in Earth's Northern Hemisphere. The Vernal Equinox, the moment Spring officially begins, occurs at 6:45 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 22:45 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

But, the day of the Vernal Equinox in 2015 also includes a Total Solar Eclipse about 12 hours before the Vernal Equinox occurs. This Total Solar Eclipse or Total Eclipse of the Sun occurs in the morning over the North Atlantic Ocean.

A partial phase of this eclipse will be visible in much of Europe, Scandinavia, Iceland, Greenland, northern and western Asia, northern and western Africa, and part of the Middle East. Several live Internet web-casts of this eclipse will be available for those who do not live in these areas, or if cloudy weather precludes direct viewing of this eclipse.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER look directly at the Sun or a Solar Eclipse with a telescope, binoculars, or any optical device. This would cause PERMANENT BLINDNESS INSTANTLY. Blindness could occur quickly, without any pain, as there are no nerve endings in the eyes. Such damage to the eyes could also happen if you look at the Sun or a Solar Eclipse with the naked-eyes for more than a second or two. Near the end of this blog post is a link which gives tips on a safe way to view a solar eclipse, as well as links to Internet web-casts that would allow you to safely view the solar eclipse on your computer.

Although the New Moon phase occurs during this Solar Eclipse, some consider it a “Super Moon,” as the New Moon occurs about 13.5 hours after a lunar perigee, when the Moon is closest to Earth in its orbit during the month of March. The Moon was at lunar perigee, 357,584 kilometers from Earth, on March 19 at 4:00 p.m. EDT / 20:00 UTC. Due to this lunar perigee New Moon, high-than-normal tides are predicted along ocean coastlines.

And, with the beginning of Spring is the annual Spring festival in America's nation's capital. Washington, DC's National Cherry Blossom Festival runs from March 20 through April 12.

Here are the times for this Solar Eclipse or Eclipse of the Sun:

Partial Solar Eclipse begins – Sun enters lunar penumbra:      3:40:52.1 a.m. EDT /  7:40:52.1 UTC
Sun enters lunar umbra:                                                             5:09:33.1 a.m. EDT /  9:09:33.1 UTC
Total Solar Eclipse begins:                                                          5:16:12.7 a.m. EDT /  9:16:12.7 UTC
Moon Phase: New Moon – Lunation # 1141                                5:36 a.m. EDT         /  9:36 UTC
Time of Greatest Total Solar Eclipse:                                          5:45:39.1 a.m. EDT /  9:45:39.1 UTC
Total Solar Eclipse ends:                                                             6:14:42.9 a.m. EDT / 10:14:42.9 UTC
Sun exits lunar umbra:                                                                 6:21:21.7 a.m. EDT / 10:21:21.7 UTC
Partial Solar Eclipse ends – Sun exits lunar penumbra:             7:50:12.4 a.m. EDT / 11:50:12.4 UTC
Vernal Equinox – Spring begins:                                                  6:45 p.m. EDT        /  22:45 UTC

More on March 20 Solar Eclipse:

Live Internet Web-Casts for Safely Viewing Solar Eclipse:

Direct Viewing – Safe Way to View Solar Eclipse or Eclipse of the Sun:

More on a Solar Eclipse or Eclipse of the Sun: Link >>>

More on the season of the Vernal Equinox and the season of Spring:

More on the National Cherry Blossom Festival:

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.

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