The annual 'diamond ring' solar eclipse will take place tonight, but it won't be visible over India

The annual 'diamond ring' solar eclipse will take place tonight, but it won't be visible over India
The 'diamond ring' effect seen during the total solar eclipse in August 2017Carla Thomas/NASA

  • The annual 'diamond ring' or total solar eclipse set to take place tonight and it will block out the Sun over Argentina.
  • In India, however, the Sun will already have set by 7:30pm, when the eclipse is schedule to begin.
  • Next year's total lunar eclipse, scheduled to take place on December 4, 2021, won't be visible from India either.
The Moon will completely block out the Sun tonight, on December 14, in the skies above Chile, Argentina and other parts of South America. as the total solar eclipse of the year takes place.

The annual 'diamond ring' solar eclipse will take place tonight, but it won't be visible over India
Path of the total solar eclipse on 14 December 2020NASA

However, India will already be shrouded in darkness by 7:00 pm Indian Standard Time (IST), when the eclipse is expected to kick off.

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Time and date of total solar eclipse in India:
EventTime (IST)
Partial solar eclipse begins7:03 pm, December 14
Full solar eclipse begins8:02 pm, December 14
Maximum eclipse 9:43 pm, December 14
Full solar eclipse ends11:24 pm, December 14
Partial solar eclipse ends12:23 am, December 15
Source: NASA
The total eclipse, when the Moon will completely block out the Sun, will last a maximum of two minutes and 40 seconds, depending on the location.

What is a total solar eclipse?
Unlike the annual solar eclipse, which occurred on June 21 and was visible in India, the Moon will be a lot closer to Earth this time around.

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The annual 'diamond ring' solar eclipse will take place tonight, but it won't be visible over India
During a total solar eclipse, the Moon blocks out the Sun leaving the Earth covered by its shadowNASA

In fact, one of the pre-conditions for an annual solar eclipse is for the Moon to be at its closest point of orbit around the planet called the perigee.

The total solar eclipse and ‘diamond rings'
Another striking difference between the annual solar eclipse and the total solar eclipse is that instead of a ‘ring of fire,' skygazers will witness ‘diamond rings'.

What looks like a ‘jewel' of light, gathers along the boundary of the shadow just before the solar corona becomes visible at the beginning and at the end of totality during a total solar eclipse.
The annual 'diamond ring' solar eclipse will take place tonight, but it won't be visible over India
Features of a total solar eclipse include 'Bailey's Beads' (L) and the 'diamond ring' effect (R)NASA/BI India

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Other interesting phenomena during a total solar eclipse include shadow bands, Bailey's beads, and a reddish glow that sets in right before the Sun completely disappears.

Even next year's total lunar eclipse, scheduled to take place on December 4, 2021, won't be visible from India either.

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