By Jamie Carter
July 12, 2018

Have you ever heard of a Supermoon Solar Eclipse on Friday the 13th?

A new moon that's as close to Earth as it gets for the rest of 2018 will pass in front of the sun this Friday, July 13. The ultra-rare occurrence will be viewable from South Australia, the Pacific, and the Indian Ocean.

There hasn't been a solar eclipse on Friday the 13th since December 13, 1974, and it won't happen again until September 13, 2080, according to EarthSky.

A supermoon occurs because the moon’s orbit around Earth is elliptical, so sometimes it's closer, and looks a little larger than usual. The supermoon doesn't cause eclipses, though — that's the moon's slightly tilted orbit, which means that a New Moon only occasionally intersects the Sun's apparent path through the daytime sky. It's a mere coincidence that it's happening on Friday the 13th, one of only two in 2018.

The last solar eclipse in Australia was on November 13, 2012. The moon’s shadow traversed Cape York Peninsula in northern Queensland and the Pacific Ocean for a total solar eclipse, and observers in places around Palm Cove, Mount Carbine, and Cairns experienced a darkness for a couple of minutes.

When and Where to See the Supermoon Solar Eclipse on Friday the 13th

While at sea it would be possible to see 22 percent of the sun covered by the moon, even less is visible from land on the extreme south coast of Australia. Melbourne will see only a 0.4% slither taken from the sun by the moon, with the best observing place on land being in south Tasmania, where 4.5 percent of the sun will be covered by the moon.

The partial eclipse will peak in Melbourne at 1:21 p.m. and in Tasmania at 1:24 p.m. local time. However, this will not be a dramatic eclipse, and there will be no detectable change in the intensity of the sun’s light.

Anyone intending on watching the supermoon solar eclipse on Friday the 13th should wear solar eclipse glasses at all times. You should never look at the sun directly during a partial eclipse.

The Next Lunar Eclipse

The partial solar eclipse of July 13, 2018 is the first of three eclipses in a row in July and August 2018. Two weeks later on July 27, 2018 is a total lunar eclipse, and a very special one because it's the longest of the 21st century. While on most occasions, the moon passes into the Earth's shadow for an hour or so, on July 27, 2018 it will do so for 1 hour 43 minutes. However, once again it's not observable from North America; the best views are from India, the Middle East and East and South Africa. In the U.K. it will be possible to watch a totally eclipsed moon appear on the horizon at dusk.

Australia is in prime position to see the total lunar eclipse on July 27, 2018. In 2021 a couple of total lunar eclipses will be visible from Australia, and again in 2025 and 2026. However, for a more dramatic total solar eclipse Australia will have to wait until April 20, 2023, when the moon's shadow will graze its North West Cape. Sydneysiders will get their chance on July 22, 2028, with more total solar eclipses occurring in Australia in 2030, 2037 and 2038.

The Next Solar Eclipse

August’s New Moon on August 11, 2018 causes another partial solar eclipse, this time visible only from the extreme north of North America, Greenland, Iceland, northern Europe and Scandinavia, and much of Asia. The north Siberian shore will experience a big 73.6-percent eclipse of the sun as it sets.

The next total solar eclipse is on July 2, 2019 in the South Pacific, Chile, and Argentina.