Spain will obtain a trio of eclipses unprecedented in trendy historical past, between 2026 and 2028 | Science | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Spain has gained the astronomical lottery. After the whole eclipse that crossed North America on Monday, the eye of astronomers from world wide will deal with the north, south and east of Spain, which is able to obtain three eclipses of the best class in three consecutive years, from 2026 to 2028; The first two can be complete and the final, void. If having the ability to see a complete eclipse passing by way of a location is one thing that usually occurs, at most, as soon as in an individual's life – on common, it takes virtually 400 years for it to occur once more – the coincidence that we are going to see within the subsequent years is unprecedented in trendy historical past.

The expectation can be most on the primary, on August 12, 2026. “It is the next total eclipse in the world, the first in Europe since 1999 and, in addition, Spain is the only country where it can be seen with guarantees,” explains Alejandro Sánchez, a researcher on the Department of Earth Physics and Astrophysics on the Complutense University of Madrid, who within the final 25 years has traveled the world behind this phenomenon and has managed to see six complete eclipses.

After beginning within the Arctic, passing by way of Greenland and touching the western tip of Iceland, the whole eclipse of 2026 will enter the Galician and Asturian coast at 7:30 p.m., in response to present summer season, and can start to be complete for nearly an hour after. The band of totality will cross northern Spain in the direction of the Levantine coast and go by way of the Balearic Islands, simply earlier than dying within the Mediterranean Sea. The National Astronomical Observatory factors out that the whole eclipse will cross quite a few provincial capitals, nevertheless it additionally factors out a disadvantage: “Spain is located at the end of the total eclipse, so it will happen when the Sun is setting, and already very close to the horizon” .

David Galadí, consultant of the Spanish node of the Office for Dissemination of the International Astronomical Union, factors out the 2 difficulties that viewing this eclipse may have: “On the one hand, the totality phase will be short, just under two minutes on the line. of centrality [que marca la duración máxima del eclipse total y pasa muy cerca de Oviedo, Soria o Palma de Mallorca]; and furthermore, as it occurs at a low altitude above the horizon, it will be easy for any obstacle, low clouds or a slight haze to prevent the view of the Sun.”

From the Complutense University, Alejandro Sánchez and his team have developed interactive maps that take into account a multitude of factors that affect the visibility of the eclipse at each point it passes through. From the probability of cloudiness or clear skies to areas where it cannot be seen because the Sun will have already hidden behind mountains, trees, buildings or hills when the total eclipse begins. Sánchez hopes that his map will help “to be able to anticipate which locations will be good to contemplate both this and the other large eclipses that will pass through Spain in the coming years.”

The next total eclipse, on the morning of August 2, 2027, will also occur in the middle of summer. But compared to 2026, it will have the advantages that its totality phase will be longer and that it will occur at a higher altitude above the horizon, when the Sun is still rising. In Ceuta, the Spanish point closest to the centrality line, the maximum duration will occur and will reach four minutes and 48 seconds, according to calculations by the National Astronomical Observatory. “In the Iberian Peninsula, Cádiz will have privileged places to observe the total eclipse for more than two minutes,” explains David Galadí. The band of totality also passes through the coast of Malaga, Granada and Almería, but it will be more centered in northern Morocco and, this time, the peak of the eclipse will occur in Egypt, with a total phase of more than six and a half minutes in Luxor, where it will be seen with the Sun at the highest point in the sky.

Several people contemplate the partial eclipse in Madrid, on August 11, 1999.
Several people contemplate the partial eclipse in Madrid, on August 11, 1999.Gorka Lejarcegi

To those who envy the conditions of that eclipse in Egypt, Joaquín Álvaro, president of the Federation of Astronomical Associations of Spain, reminds them that “the fact of seeing a total eclipse, whether higher or lower, changes your life.” For Alejandro Sánchez, the natural spectacle and the sensations with 100% of the Sun eclipsed have nothing to do with seeing it at 99%. For this reason, “everybody will need to transfer to the zone of totality throughout the eclipses of 2026 and 2027, though in the remainder of Spain they are often seen as partial eclipses.”

As a culmination of this trio of great eclipses, on January 26, 2028, an annular eclipse will take place; a very particular case, almost equal to a total one, but as the Moon is further from the Earth, it looks smaller: it covers the entire Sun except the edge, leaving a slight ring visible. It will cross the south of the Iberian Peninsula again towards the northeast of Spain, to die just before reaching Barcelona and Mallorca. Once again, it will occur very close to sunset, which will make it difficult to contemplate from cities and mountainous areas, but the view of the ring of fire characteristic of an annular eclipse, almost touching the Mediterranean Sea, will leave a multitude of photographs for the memory. On this occasion, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil will also be able to enjoy the annular eclipse before it crosses the Atlantic Ocean.

A once in a lifetime occasion

To find a phenomenon similar to these three great chained eclipses in Spain, we must go back to the totals of 1900 and 1905 and the hybrid—mixture of total and annular—of 1912. But let them occur in three consecutive years, and only a century later of that already exceptional trio, makes it something even more unusual. Looking to the future, it is also a fortunate coincidence that the next total eclipse in Europe will be in 2053 and will have a path through the Strait of Gibraltar very similar to that of 2027.

And from there, “no one now alive will ever see a total eclipse in Spain again, nor a succession of eclipses so close together in Europe,” warns Alejandro Sánchez. We will have to wait until 2081 for a total eclipse to cross the old continent, with a trajectory very similar to that of 1999. The next one, in 2088, will cross Greece and in 2090, the last European total eclipse of the century will pass through the southern tip of the Kingdom. Kingdom and northwest France. And in the entire 22nd century, our descendants will only be able to contemplate two total eclipses in Europe, which will pass skimming Scandinavia.

A young man held a piece of x-ray to an old man to contemplate the partial eclipse in Madrid, in 1994.
A young man held a piece of x-ray to an old man to contemplate the partial eclipse in Madrid, in 1994.Sofia Moro (Cover/Getty Images)

This precise knowledge of future eclipses—we know the exact date and time of those that will occur in the next thousand years—will attract crowds of tourists and astronomy fans to Spain from across the continent and also from the rest of the world. The high season of European eclipses of the 21st century will also coincide in 2026 and 2027 in the middle of August. “This will be like hosting a soccer World Cup, but with a big difference: the unpredictability of the weather conditions will mean that we will not know where the grand final will be held until a few hours before. And everyone is going to want to go see it,” Sánchez concludes.

You can follow MATERIA in Facebook, X e Instagramclick here to receive our weekly newsletter.

Subscribe to continue reading

Read without limits