There will be a rare solar eclipse visible in Hong Kong on the afternoon of April 20. The hybrid eclipse — a combination of an annular solar eclipse and a total solar eclipse — will be partially visible in the territory between 12.34pm and 13.16pm.
According to the Hong Kong Space Museum, as the central point of the eclipse is south of the Equator, the south-eastern parts of the city will be the best places to view it as the extent and duration of the eclipse are greater in these areas. Recommended spots include Shek O Beach and Stanley Main Beach, where it will be visible between 12.33pm and 1.17pm.
The greatest eclipse — the instant when the apparent centers of the Moon and the Sun are at the smallest separation — will occur at 12.55pm.
The eclipse magnitude will be small in Hong Kong, with 2%-3% of the Sun’s diameter being covered by the Moon. Observers may need a telescope to view it as it will not noticeably darken the sky over the city. The Hong Kong Space Museum will webcast images of the Sun during this event between 12.30pm and 1.20pm.
A hybrid solar eclipse starts out as an annular solar eclipse, a phenomenon in which the Moon does not completely obscure the Sun when in front of it, thereby creating the appearance of a ‘ring of fire’ around the Moon. It then transitions into a total solar eclipse before reverting to an annular one. During this event, observers can view either an annular or a total solar eclipse, depending on their location.
The next hybrid solar eclipse will be on November 14, 2031, while the next partial solar eclipse visible in Hong Kong will occur on July 22, 2028.
Last month, there was a lunar occultation of Venus — when the Moon blocked the light from the planet — visible in Hong Kong. The next such lunar occultation of Earth’s neighbouring planet will occur in 2063.
Header image credits: M-C-C via Canva