If the weather is good, the solar eclipse can be visible in all Costa Rica. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth. This phenomenon generally happens when there is new moon and when the moon, the Earth and the sun are perfectly aligned.
Jose Alberto Villalobos, a Costa Rican astronomer, explained that there is always a cone of penumbra in shiny objects.
“An umbra cone has a dark area where the sunlinght never reaches. We call this area umbra. A cone of penumbra is an area slightly lit by the sun. In the case of a solar eclipse, the source of light is the sun, and the object that blocks the sunlight is the moon. The shadow projected is received in the Earth, acting like a screen” – Villalobos explained.
People in the umbra zone are able to sight the total eclipse of the sun while people in the penumbra area can only see the eclipse partially. This total solar eclipse will be observable from Oregon to South Carolina, USA.
In Costa Rica, the phenomenon will last 2 hours and 18 minutes. It will start at 12:04 pm and end at 2:22 pm.
“During the annular eclipse stage, we can see the moon covering the sun partially or totally. It is necessary to use sun filter glasses to watch the phenomenon except in the total eclipse stage, also known as occultation.” – he added.
The sun filter glasses shouldn’t be over 3 years old and must comply with the requirements for the ISO 12312-2.
Crescent phases of the moon
The partial stage of this natural event will allow us to watch the first effects of an eclipse: crescent moon phases. They are the reflection of the eclipse in the ground, which causes an amazing visual phenomenon.
“This effect is caused by the sun rays that pass through holes and spaces in leaves or hollowed out objects” – Villalobos said.
According to the National Center of Science and Technology, two solar eclipses occur every eighteen months but only one of them is visible.
“We can even have 3 solar eclipses every year, but most of them are penumbral and the moon doesn’t darken enough. It is even possible to have up to 7 eclipses in a year. In 1935, there were 5 solar eclipses four of which were partial and one annular.”
The National Center of Science and Technology is selling sun filter glasess for the August 21st eclipse.
Additional facts about this natural event
- Maximum duration of a solar eclipse: over 7 minutes.
- The longest solar eclipse was on June 30th, 1973.
- The longest and most recent solar eclipse was on June 11th, 1991. It could be seen in Costa Rica.