When is the next solar eclipse? Hot on the heels of a Martian annular solar eclipse filmed in exquisite detail by NASA our own planet is about to see its first solar eclipse of 2022.
It’s not a total solar eclipse, last seen in Antarctica in December 2021, but a partial solar eclipse—and again the spectacle of the Moon crossing the Sun is going to be visible in Antarctica and South America.
Saturday’s celestial event won’t be as impressive as that day’s events, but it’s not without its attractions.
When is the partial solar eclipse?
It begins at 18:45 Universal Time (UT) on Saturday, April 30, 2022 when the New Moon will appear to cross the Sun. At 20:41 UT it will reach maximum obscuration of 54%—as seen from the maximum eclipse point in the Drake Passage connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans—with the Moon moving away from the Sun at 22:37 UT.
As seen from Chile it all begins about an hour and a half before sunset.
Where is the partial solar eclipse?
With the cruising season over in Antarctica this is a solar eclipse that will be experienced mostly on the west coast in Chile.
You can see an interactive map of the eclipse here.
Why this partial solar eclipse will be ‘weird’
From Chile it will be possible to watch a partially eclipsed sunset, which will look like the main image of this article. However, during this one there will be a “smiley face” Sun, which will cause a pretty—and rather unusual—“horned Sun” as it sinks into the Pacific Ocean.
In clear skies a 25% (or thereabouts) eclipsed Sun’s two limbs will be visible separately on the horizon. It’s a relatively rare sight in itself for eclipse observers so expect astrophotographers to make the journey.
Expect some beautiful images online come Sunday.
It will also see the Moon appear to cross the Sun from the south (left), moving across it and exiting to the north (right), giving the unusual effect of the Moon’s shadow “bouncing” between the north pole and the south pole.
Are solar eclipses dangerous?
They can be—and this one definitely is. Observers in Chile will need to wear solar eclipse glasses at all times to avoid the threat of blindness. All cameras and telescopes will need solar filters.
The reason it’s the most dangerous solar eclipse of 2022 is that it will mostly be viewed as the Sun sets, encouraging observers to look at the beautiful sight as it sinks on the horizon. Although it’s completely safe to look at an eclipsed Sun during the brief totality of a total solar eclipse, that is not what’s happening here.
When is the ‘Blood Moon’ total lunar eclipse?
A solar eclipse always happens about two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse. When there’s a total solar eclipse there’s usually a partial (or even slighter penumbral) lunar eclipse either before or after. When there’s a partial solar eclipse there’s always a total lunar eclipse—also known as a “Blood Moon”—close by.
Cue the next full Moon, the “Flower Moon,” which will occur on Monday, May 16, 2022. It will also be a “Blood Moon” total lunar eclipse.
On Sunday, May 15 and into Monday, 16, 2022 the full “Flower Moon” will turn a spectacular reddish color for 84 minutes and best viewed in North and South America.
I’ll be writing many articles about that in the weeks to come so do return here for lots more detail and viewing guides describing exactly when to watch from the U.S. and Canada.
When is the next partial solar eclipse?
Saturday’s partial solar eclipse is the first of two in 2022, the other being on October 25, 2022.
That one will be visible from Europe, Asia and Africa and see 82% of the Sun eclipsed by the Moon. The maximum eclipse point will be in Russia.
Disclaimer: I am the editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.