Article image

Rare hybrid solar eclipse will dazzle skywatchers this Thursday

A once-in-a-decade astronomical phenomenon, known as the hybrid solar eclipse, is set to captivate skygazers in parts of the equator and the southern hemisphere later this week.

This rare celestial event occurs when the moon’s shadow moves across Earth’s surface. This transforms the appearance of the sun as it is either almost or entirely obscured by the moon. The result is a dramatic darkening of the daytime sky.

The Royal Observatory has confirmed that the event will be visible from specific regions, including Western Australia and Southeast Asia, around 11:30am local time. Unfortunately, the hybrid solar eclipse will not be visible in the UK or the US.

As this awe-inspiring occurrence only happens every ten years, those who have the opportunity to witness it should not miss out. The last hybrid solar eclipse took place in November 2013, and the next one is not expected until November 2031.

Types of solar eclipses

Solar eclipses occur when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, obstructing our view of the sun. Several types of solar eclipses exist. Experts classify them according to the extent to which they block the sun’s surface.

A total solar eclipse happens when the moon entirely obscures the sun. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon appears slightly smaller than the sun, creating a bright halo of light around the moon’s silhouette. On the other hand, when the moon covers only a part of the sun, a partial solar eclipse occurs. This creates the impression that the sun has a “bite” taken out of it.

The hybrid solar eclipse is a unique combination of both total and annular solar eclipses. As the moon moves into position, it precedes this event with a partial solar eclipse. Dr. Greg Brown, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, provided further insights into the visibility of this phenomenon.

Speaking to MailOnline, he said: “This eclipse is only visible from Australia, East Timor, Indonesia, the southern Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean, while the connected partial eclipse will also be visible to a few surrounding regions.”

As the hybrid solar eclipse approaches, enthusiasts in the designated viewing areas should prepare for an unforgettable celestial experience that only comes around once every ten years.

What exactly is a hybrid solar eclipse?

The hybrid solar eclipse, a rare and mesmerizing astronomical event, has long captivated skygazers and scientists alike. A unique combination of total and annular solar eclipses, hybrid solar eclipses present a fascinating spectacle. The appearance of the sun actually changes as the moon’s shadow traverses Earth’s surface.

Solar eclipses occur when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, temporarily obscuring the sun from view. Total solar eclipses arise when the moon entirely covers the sun, casting a dark shadow on Earth. Conversely, annular solar eclipses happen when the moon appears smaller than the sun. This results in a bright ring of light encircling the moon’s silhouette.

The elusive hybrid solar eclipse materializes when the Earth’s curvature and fluctuating distances between the Earth and moon cause the eclipse to manifest as total in some locations and annular in others. This celestial event typically begins as an annular eclipse, transitions to a total eclipse, and then reverts to an annular eclipse before concluding.

Preceded by a partial solar eclipse as the moon moves into position, hybrid solar eclipses demand a precise alignment of the sun, moon, and Earth. Consequently, they are relatively uncommon, occurring approximately once every decade.

The rarity and beauty of hybrid solar eclipses have made them an extraordinary subject for astronomers and eclipse enthusiasts alike. Their occurrence provides a unique opportunity to study the intricate interplay between celestial bodies and offers skywatchers a chance to witness a truly unforgettable astronomical phenomenon.

Impact of solar eclipses on humans and wildlife

Solar eclipses, especially total solar eclipses, can have a noticeable impact on both humans and wildlife due to the sudden and dramatic changes in light and temperature. Here’s how solar eclipses can affect both humans and animals:

Impact on Humans:

Emotional and psychological effects

The awe-inspiring nature of a total solar eclipse can evoke a wide range of emotions in people, from excitement and wonder to fear and anxiety. For some, it can be a deeply spiritual or life-changing experience.

Temporary disruption of daily routines

Solar eclipses can cause temporary disruptions in work or travel, as people gather to watch the event. Moreover, during a total solar eclipse, the sudden darkness can briefly disrupt outdoor activities.

Increased interest in astronomy and science

Solar eclipses often spark curiosity and enthusiasm for astronomy and science, inspiring people to learn more about the cosmos and celestial events.

Impact on Wildlife:

Altered behavior

Many animals react to the sudden darkness during a total solar eclipse as if it were nighttime. Birds may stop singing and return to their nests, insects like crickets may start chirping, and nocturnal animals may become active.

Changes in temperature

The temperature can drop significantly during a total solar eclipse, which may affect cold-blooded animals like reptiles and amphibians, causing them to become less active.


Some animals, particularly those that rely on light cues for navigation or communication, may become disoriented during a solar eclipse. This is usually a temporary effect that resolves once the eclipse is over.

Impact on marine life

Aquatic creatures, especially those sensitive to light changes, can also be affected by a solar eclipse. For instance, zooplankton and small fish that follow daily light patterns may alter their behavior.

While the impacts of solar eclipses on humans and wildlife can be fascinating to observe, it is essential to remember that these effects are temporary, and both humans and animals generally return to their normal routines once the eclipse has ended.

Safety rules for watching an eclipse

Watching an eclipse, whether solar or lunar, can be an exciting and memorable experience. However, when it comes to solar eclipses, it is crucial to follow safety rules to protect your eyes from damage. Here are some essential safety guidelines for watching a solar eclipse:

Never look directly at the sun

Looking at the sun without proper protection can cause severe and permanent eye damage, including solar retinopathy or even blindness.

Use approved solar eclipse glasses

To view a solar eclipse safely, use special-purpose solar filters or eclipse glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard. These glasses block out harmful ultraviolet and infrared radiation and reduce the sun’s brightness to a safe level.

Do not use regular sunglasses

Ordinary sunglasses, even if they are very dark, do not provide adequate protection for your eyes when observing a solar eclipse.

Inspect your eclipse glasses

Before using solar eclipse glasses, check for any scratches, punctures, or other damages. If you find any defects, do not use them, as they may not provide sufficient protection.

Supervise children

Ensure that children are wearing proper eclipse glasses and are aware of the importance of not looking directly at the sun without protection.

Avoid using unfiltered optical devices

Do not use unfiltered binoculars, telescopes, or cameras to view a solar eclipse, as they can concentrate solar radiation and cause severe eye damage.

Use solar filters for optical devices

If you want to use binoculars, telescopes, or cameras, make sure to use solar filters specifically designed for those devices. Remove the solar filter only when the sun is entirely obscured during a total solar eclipse.

Be cautious during partial and annular eclipses

During partial and annular solar eclipses, the sun is never entirely obscured. Always use solar eclipse glasses or appropriate solar filters when observing these types of eclipses.

For a lunar eclipse, no special equipment or eye protection is necessary, as it is safe to observe with the naked eye or through binoculars and telescopes.


Check us out on EarthSnap, a free app brought to you by Eric Ralls and

News coming your way
The biggest news about our planet delivered to you each day