Partial eclipse greets Sunday early birds

2015-09-13 13:17
File: AP

File: AP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - South Africans who rose early on Sunday morning and happened to look skywards might have noticed a slice of the sun covered in darkness.

It is not the beginning of the apocalypse, but rather a partial eclipse. The partial eclipse began just before 06:45 on Sunday morning, reached its zenith around 07:35, and finished just after 08:33.

According to Astronomical Society of Southern Africa, Johannesburg Centre chairperson and viewing officer Jerome Jooste, 17% of the sun was covered at maximum extent of the partial eclipse.

"A partial eclipse such as this one occurs due to the fact the shadow of the moon actually crosses the earth," Jooste told News24.

"Anybody who isn't in the absolute line of totality, which is where the deepest shadow crosses part of the Earth, will always only observe a partial eclipse. So for most people on the planet, partial eclipses are more common than total eclipses."

Regarding Sunday's partial eclipse, the shadow of the moon just due south of Antarctica.

"People in the Cape saw the eclipse to a greater degree to what we did in Johannesburg, and people down in Antarctica would have seen it a bit deeper," Jooste said.

Different types of filtrations for the sun

"Nobody on the planet would have seen it as a total eclipse."

As your parents have likely told you, Jooste said it's a "very bad idea" to directly look at the sun without the proper solar filters.

"You get different types of filtrations for the sun. They come in different degrees. If you are going to look at the sun with the naked eye or a device, you must make sure you have a certified solar filter," he said.

"Home suggestions such as using a tea bag is not a good idea at all, because it doesn't protect your eyes against UV rays."

However, a pinhole camera is very effective, since you are not looking directly at the sun.

"You must make a tiny hole into the sheet and then project that onto a wall. You will then see an image of the sun but you not looking at the direction of the sun," Jooste said.

Lunar eclipse

The next time South Africans can expect to see a partial eclipse will be on September 1 2016.

"The path of totality for 1 September 2016 crosses through Central Africa, through the Atlantic Ocean, and runs through the Indian Ocean just south of Australia," he said.

"It will be a greater extent to what we saw now."

Apart from partial solar eclipses, South Africa can also expect a lunar eclipse in the late evening of September 27 and early morning of September 28.

"We will only see it here in SA on the 28th," Jooste said.

"A lunar eclipse only occurs when its full moon, and solar eclipses only occur in the new moon. Now, the exact opposite occurs when the Earth moves between the moon and the sun, where the earth's shadow falls across the moon."

Read more on:    space

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.


Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.