This year will offer an out-of-this-world range of spectacular events, literally, with two lunar and three solar eclipses, some of which (not many) will be visible from Spain
The National Geographic Institute (IGN), part of the Ministry of Development, has published a calendar of events which are literally out of this world, with five eclipses, two of the moon and three of the sun.
We’re not going to be able to see the first phenomenon, partly because it happened last night, and partly because of the time of day. There was the partial solar eclipse on January 5 and 6, which was visible in north eastern Asia and the northern Pacific. It began on Saturday, January 5 at 23:34 UTC, which is just after half past midnight on Saturday night in Spain, 00:34, at a point in the province of Hebei (China), northeast of Beijing, and will move eastward through North Korea, South Korea, Japan, the eastern end of Russia and the northern Pacific.
The maximum eclipse was on January 6 at 01:41 UTC (02:41 in Spain), at a point near the city of Srednekolimsk, in the Republic of Sakha (Russia). At that time, the magnitude of the eclipse was 0.71. The eclipse ended on Sunday morning at 03:49 UTC at a latitude of 43º North, at a point in the Pacific Ocean. The total duration of the phenomenon was 255 minutes (4 hours and 15 minutes).
Although the first eclipse might not have been anything to get excited over in Spain, the second certainly will be, as it is the total eclipse of the moon on Monday, 21 January, and will be visible in Western Asia, America, Africa and Europe, including Spain.
The beginning of the penumbra eclipse will take place at 02:35 UTC (03:35 in Spain). The eclipse will be partially visible from 03:32, and totally eclipsed at 04:39 UTC (05:39 in Spain). This will be visible in the western half of Africa, Europe and America, and will end at 05:40 UTC (06:40 in Spain), having lasted for 1 hour and 1 minute, with the shadow of the eclipse ending at 07:44 UTC.
Now, although we may have missed out on the first eclipse, this second one will only be visible in all of its phases in Western Europe, America and the Pacific Ocean, and Spain will be one of the few European countries that can see the phenomenon in its entirety, although there is some bad news as this will not be the whole country. According to the IGN, the best places for observation will be those located to the west, so, sadly, here in the eastern half of the peninsula and the Balearic Islands we will not see all of the phases, since the moon will be hidden before the end of the phenomenon.
Having gotten over that slight disappointment, let us now jump ahead six months, to July, when there will be a total solar eclipse on Tuesday, 2 July, which will be visible in the South Pacific and South America, so not Spain. This eclipse will begin at 16:55 UTC (17:55 Spanish peninsular time) at a point in the Pacific Ocean south of French Polynesia. The end of the eclipse will occur at 21:50 UTC at a point southeast of San Pablo de Lípez, in the area of Potosí (Bolivia). The total duration of the phenomenon will be 295 minutes (slightly less than 5 hours).
The total eclipse will start at 18:02 at a point in the Pacific Ocean east of New Zealand; It will cross the Pacific from west to east, it will enter Chile through the regions of Coquimbo and Atacama, it will pass through Argentina through the province of San Juan, continuing through La Rioja, San Luis, Córdoba and Santa Fe, until ending in the province of Buenos Aires. The total eclipse will end at 20:43 UTC at a point southeast of the city of Chacomús (Argentina). The total duration of the phenomenon will be 161 minutes (slightly less than 2 hours and 45 minutes).
However, once again, the disappointment of the first is counteracted by excitement of the second, as there will be a partial lunar eclipse on July 16 and 17 which will be visible from Spain. On Tuesday, 16 July, the beginning of the penumbral eclipse will take place on the at 18:44 UTC and will be visible in Oceania, Asia, East and Central Africa and Eastern Europe. The partial eclipse will begin at 20:02 UTC, reaching its maximum at 21:31 UTC, and ending at 22:59 UTC, being visible in Oceania, Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.
The eclipse will end on Wednesday 17 July at 01:17 UTC, and may be seen in its final phases in Western Asia, Europe, Africa, South America and the Far East of North America.
We may have only just forgotten about one Christmas and might not want to think about the next, but our next event is on Boxing day, with an annular solar eclipse. It will be visible as a partial eclipse in the extreme east of Africa, Asia and in the northern half of Oceania and will start at 02:30 UTC in the Arabian Sea, off the coast of Oman, and end at 08:06 UTC at a point of the Pacific Ocean south of the island of Guam. The total duration of the phenomenon will be 336 minutes (just over 5 and a half hours).
The annular eclipse will start at 03:36 northwest of Al-Hofuf (Saudi Arabia). It will cross Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, cross the Arabian Sea and return to land in southern India and northern Sri Lanka. It will then enter Southeast Asia through the island of Sumatra (Indonesia), Singapore and the island of Borneo (Indonesia and Malaysia) to finally enter the Pacific Ocean across the island of Guam (United States).
The annular eclipse will end at 06:59 at a latitude at a point in the Pacific Ocean west of Wake Island (United States). The annularity will be visible in many cities. For example, if you happen to be in Doha (Qatar) try not to blink as the duration of the annulment will be 35 seconds, in Coimbatore (India) 3 minutes and 4 seconds, in Padangsidempuan (Indonesia) 3 minutes and 31 seconds, in Singapore 2 minutes and 20 seconds, in Kota Samarahan (Malaysia) 1 minute and 56 seconds and in the island of Guam (United States) 3 minutes and 10 seconds.
The maximum of the annular eclipse will occur at 05:18 UTC near the Meranti Islands, in Sumatra (Indonesia). The maximum magnitude of the phenomena will be 0.97 and its maximum duration of 3 minutes and 39 seconds.