Eclipse season is here: Ring of Fire eclipse up next – What is eclipse season?

Blood moon 2021: Lunar eclipse captured over Australia

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May 26 saw a Blood Moon rise after a lunar eclipse was visible to most of the world, excluding Europe and Africa. Another eclipse is on its way, this time, however, it will be a solar eclipse. North America will be the main beneficiaries of the eclipse, with astronomers stating there will be an annular eclipse over the US and Canada on June 10.

An annular eclipse is where the Sun is only partially blocked by the Moon, resulting in the edges of our host star bursting out from behind the Moon’s shadow.

This is also known as a Ring of Fire eclipse, as it appears there is a glowing aura around a silhouetted Sun.

While the US and Canada will see the Ring of Fire eclipse at its peak, Greenland, the North Pole and parts of western Russia will see it.

According to Time and Date, the June 10 eclipse will reach its maximum at 11.41am BST. This will mark the end of eclipse season.

Why is there an eclipse season?

Over the course of a calendar year, there are between four and seven eclipses – either of the Moon or of the Sun.

They come about in cycles of 173.3 days, just shy of six months.

The reason they come in swathes is because of the angle the Moon orbits the Earth.

The Moon’s journey around our planet is not flat, but rather slightly off at a five-degree angle.

This means that most new Moons or Full Moons are either slightly too north or too south for an eclipse to occur.

However, when a lunar eclipse occurs – which is where the Earth casts a shadow on the Moon – a solar eclipse will follow shortly as the lunar satellite swings around the planet to then block out the light from the Sun.

Earthsky said: “Twice every month, as the Moon circles Earth in its orbit, the moon crosses the ecliptic (Earth’s orbital plane) at points called nodes.

“If the Moon is going from south to north, it’s called the Moon’s ascending node, and if the Moon is moving from north to south, it’s called the Moon’s descending node.

“Whenever the lunar nodes point directly at the Sun, that momentous event marks the middle of the eclipse season.

“The alignment of the Moon, Sun and Earth is most exact when an eclipse happens at the middle of an eclipse season, and the least so when an eclipse occurs at the start, or the end, of an eclipse season.

“Any lunar eclipse happening early or late in the eclipse season presents a penumbral lunar eclipse, whereas any solar eclipse happening early or late in the eclipse season features a skimpy partial eclipse of the Sun.”

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