While the superstitious may avoid venturing outdoors this Friday the 13th, some lucky sky-watchers around the South Pacific may get to witness an event not seen on this spooky date in 44 years: a super-size new moon blocking out part of the sun.
On July 13, a partial solar eclipse will be visible from the southeastern coast of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand’s Stewart Island, as well as the northern coast of Antarctica. Earth has not seen a solar eclipse fall on a Friday the 13th since December 1974.
Our planet crosses between the moon and the sun every month, but a solar eclipse occurs only when the three celestial bodies are aligned so that Earth glides through at least part of the moon’s shadow. For observers on Earth, that’s when the moon’s disk seems to take a bite out of the sun, sometimes fully covering it up during a total eclipse.