This Thursday, the Sun has a rendezvous with the Moon. But seen from mainland France, the date will look more like a shy reunion than a frank smooch … Solar eclipse will deliver all its majesty in northwest Greenland, the shadow cast following an arctic trajectory, from northern Quebec to Alaska. Few of the spectators will therefore be able to take advantage of the maximum obscuration of the star of the day by our natural satellite.
Brest, the best placed to take advantage of it
Consolation prize for the Bretons, they are fighting for the best place in France with the Manchois and Pas-de-Calaisiens, to savor a small part of this eclipse which will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with its maximum around 12 h. The northern tip of Finistère is the best-placed Breton territory: in Brest, the lunar disc will eat away at 17.8% of the solar surface. against 15.9% in Lille, 13.2% in Paris, 5.5% in Toulouse and only 2.8% in Marseille and 0.2% in Ajaccio. Outside Metropolitan France, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon will benefit from a 67% “load shedding”.
An annular eclipse
The eclipse expected Thursday is of a particular kind: it is annular. “A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun and the three stars are aligned. But this time, the Moon being a little further from the Earth, its apparent diameter will be slightly smaller, the eclipse will not be total and we will see a ring of the Sun around ”, explains Bruno Mauguin, co-responsible, with Priscilla Abraham, of the planetarium of the Espace des sciences in Rennes.
In Brittany, the 17 to 18% of the sun’s surface “eaten” by the Moon will not be visible to the naked eye. “If the annular eclipse had been central over France, we could have observed a little less light and felt the temperature drop a little”, continues Bruno Mauguin.
Staring at the Sun with the naked eye remains “very dangerous”, recalls Priscilla Abraham. “Even with sunglasses or through photo film, it only takes a few seconds to suffer irreversible damage to the eye”. Indispensable tool: the special eclipse glasses. And if you use binoculars or a telescope, it is essential to equip them with very powerful solar filters.
There remains one factor that could ruin the show: weather. In Brest, it looks cloudy. But if the veil is thin enough to let the sun pierce, it could act as a filter: it would allow better observation of the solar circle devoured by the lunar disk.
If the show turns out to be disappointing, be patient… The next remarkable solar eclipses in France will take place on October 25, 2022 – the East will then benefit from a 20% obscuration – and on March 29, 2025. That day, Brittany will see a third of the sun eaten by the Moon. On August 12, 2026, the Basque Country will have a front row seat with darkness close to 100%.
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