Skywatchers in some parts of the world should look up this week as there’s a chance to witness a hybrid solar eclipse.
Occurring on Wednesday or Thursday depending on your location, the upcoming celestial event is particularly special as it’s what’s known as a hybrid solar eclipse — the rarest kind that accounts for just 4.8% of all solar eclipses, according to NASA.
There are four types in all: a total solar eclipse, a partial solar eclipse, an annular solar eclipse, and a hybrid solar eclipse.
A total eclipse is where the moon completely blocks the sun, while a partial eclipse results in a crescent shape. An annular eclipse occurs when the moon is around its furthest point from Earth and blocks the sun to creates a dramatic “ring of fire.”
Due to Earth’s curved surface, an eclipse can sometimes shift between annular and total as the moon’s shadow moves across the globe. This is called a hybrid solar eclipse.
The best viewing location for this week’s hybrid solar eclipse is in Australia and parts of Asia. But if you’re not in that part of the world, you can watch a live stream of the eclipse online.
Folks watching online will be just fine, but if you’re viewing the eclipse in person, be sure to follow all the appropriate safety tips laid out by NASA or you could risk permanent damage to your eyesight.
How to watch
NASA’s live stream will begin at 10:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 19. You can watch it on the video player embedded at the top of this page or by visiting NASA’s YouTube channel. The space agency will share live telescope views of the rare phenomenon, with experts on hand to talk more about it.
If you’re watching from Australia, the eclipse will take place on Thursday, April 20, local time. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation offers a comprehensive news/2023-04-19/total-solar-eclipse-in-australia-when-and-where-it-can-be-seen/102115376″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>breakdown of timings for different locations across the country.