Skies in Taiwan mostly clear for tomorrow's eclipse

Parts of southern Taiwan to see extremely rare annular eclipse on June 21

Annular solar eclipse. (NASA photo)

Annular solar eclipse. (NASA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) predicts that weather conditions will be fair on Sunday (June 21), when residents of southern Taiwan will be able to catch a glimpse of a rare annular eclipse.

For those who miss it, the next opportunity to see one will not come for another 195 years.

The CWB predicts that on Sunday, much of Taiwan will see mostly clear skies, with the exception of Tainan City, Kaohsiung City, and Pingtung County, which will see partly cloudy skies. From early morning to midmorning, scattered showers are possible in southern and central Taiwan, while in the afternoon, thunderstorms could occur in mountainous areas of northeastern Taiwan, according to the CWB.

The Tainan Astronomical Education Area reports that the eclipse can be viewed in its totality along a belt across southern Taiwan that runs through Kinmen County, Penghu County, Chiayi County, Yunlin County, Tainan City, Hualien County, and Taitung County. The annular eclipse will last about one minute along the central line of the eclipse zone and only a few seconds along its edges.

Band where eclipse can be viewed in totality. (Xavier M. Jubier map screenshot)

An annular eclipse occurs when the moon covers the sun's center, leaving a "ring of fire" known as an annulus around the moon's periphery. The last time such a phenomenon was visible in Taiwan was 2012, and the next will not take place until the year 2215.

The viewing time will vary by longitude and latitude, but the best places from which to view the eclipse on June 21 are Yunlin County, Chiayi County, Chiayi City, and Kinmen County.

In Yunlin, the partial eclipse will start at 2:49:23 p.m. The annularity starts at 4:13:55 p.m., and the maximum eclipse occurs at 4:14:06, while the annularity ends at 4:14:20, and the partial eclipse finishes at 5:25:44.

Map showing band where eclipse will be visible. (Tainan Astronomical Education Area image)

The solar spectacle in Chiayi County and Chiayi City will start a few seconds earlier than Yunlin, while Kinmen will start five minutes earlier than Yunlin. A partial view of the eclipse can be seen in Taipei starting at 2:49 p.m.

Do not look directly at the eclipse, as this could severely damage the eyes. Instead, use specially designed solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers, to observe the phenomenon.

The following map shows the times that various stages of the eclipse can be witnessed in different parts of Taiwan.