The end is nigh, Engadget readers: a triumvirate of celestial events is happening simultaneously. Okay, that might be a bit of an overstatement, but until we hit the other side of today’s supermoon, spring equinox (yay!) and total solar eclipse, we just won’t know. As The Wall Street Journal tells it, this sort of thing is “extremely unusual.” Total solar eclipses — where the moon plays middleman and blocks the sun from our view — happen about once every year-and-a-half. Supermoons and the equinox? A handful of times per year and once annually, respectively.
Should you want to witness the full effect you’ll need to either be in the northern reaches of Europe or the Arctic, with the Faroe and Svalbard Islands sitting in the “path of totality” where the moon will block 100 percent of the sun. Certain areas of Britain will go dark for a few hours around 4:30 AM Eastern Time, too, but only 85 percent of the sun’ll be blocked instead of 100.
A GIF from NASA depicting the path of today’s solar eclipse
Not only do these types of eclipses look pretty neat, they serve as a great opportunity for scientists to study our star as well. For example, space-based coronagraphs (telescopes that spot things super close to the Sun by replicating solar eclipses) can’t show Sol’s hotter, inner atmosphere — that’s only visible during the real mccoy here on Earth. NASA has a whole slew of other solar eclipse facts so make sure to check ’em out while you still can.
– SimpsonsQOTD (@SimpsonsQOTD) March 20, 2015
[Image credit: Shutterstock]