This coming Tuesday will be a double delight for space lovers. A total solar eclipse will shadow Indonesia and North Pacific Ocean, and a 30-meter asteroid will fly close to the Earth’s surface.
While the prediction of the asteroid flyby was made for March 5, Saturday, it was revised in late February. The asteroid is expected to fly by around 3 million miles from Earth; it is also possible that it could be as near as 15,000 miles, according to a statement from NASA.
The total solar eclipse, the only one for the year, will have the moon’s shadow traveling across Earth’s surface late March 8 for the Pacific, and early March 9 in Indonesia. As reported by Mashable, Geoff Wyatt, education program producer at the Sydney Observatory, said that the eclipse will be visible over parts of Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi as well as “a large empty part of the Pacific ocean,” and that it will occur for 4 minutes and 9 seconds at its greatest. The previous total solar eclipse occurred last year in March. Sky and Telescope notes that the phenomenon will begin in the Indian Ocean and end in the Pacific.
However, the eclipse will be partially visible in north and western Australia, parts of China, Japan and the Philippines, and Hawaii and Alaska. One can check the U.S. Naval Observatory’s solar eclipse computer to know the time of the eclipse in their location.
Explaining how the solar eclipse occurs, Wyatt said, “The curiously timed fact that the Moon is roughly 400 times smaller than the Sun but 400 times closer than the Sun means they have about the same apparent diameter. The Moon can perfectly block the Sun from our view but allow us to see the gorgeous bits [like] the solar corona.”
A total solar eclipse will occur next year in the United States, CBS Local reports. Expected to occur on August 21, 2017, it will be viewable from Oregon to South Carolina. Majority of North America will be able to view a partial eclipse. The last time that such an event occurred was in the 1970s.