Partial Solar Eclipse 2018: How to Safely See the Celestial Event in July

A partial solar eclipse arrives this month.

The next total solar eclipse won’t be visible until April 8, 2024. But the good news is, there will be a partial solar eclipse viewing opportunity this month on July 13, after an already awesome lineup of celestial happenings.

When the sun, moon, and Earth are almost, but not quite, lined up with each other, a partial eclipse takes place. As always, you’ll need to look at the sun with proper eye protection, but be sure to get a glimpse.

When Will the Partial Solar Eclipse Be Visible?

There are three phases during a partial solar eclipse: first, the moon starts to block the sun; then the maximum extent of the eclipse occurs; and lastly, the moon fully passes away from the sun. July’s partial solar eclipse will occur at about 1:30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time, or about 9:30 a.m. for the East Coast in the United States.

An illustration of the moon's penumbral and umbral shadows' path across Earth during this month's partial solar eclipse. 


This particular eclipse will only be visible for those in the southern region of Australia, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of livestreams and pictures for those in other parts of the world. The best views will be smack in the middle of the ocean, but those around Melbourne will experience a sighting, along with anyone who happens to be in Tasmania.

How Do Partial Solar Eclipses Happen?

Partial solar eclipses happen about twice a year in varying geographic locations. There was already one this year in February that was visible in parts of South America and Antarctica, and there will be a third partial solar eclipse on August 11 that will be visible in northern Europe and parts of Eastern Asia. Sometimes, during a total solar eclipse, the partial phase is visible directly before and afterward. Eclipses are also more likely to be visible near the north and south poles.

This iteration of the partial eclipse comes at a perfect time for stargazers, since other celestial offerings this month include a total lunar eclipse, Mars at opposition, and even a meteor shower.