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July 1: The Solar Eclipse No One Will See

partial solar eclipse
Another moon-like phase of a partial solar eclipse, this amazing sunrise photo was captured in Catalonia, Spain, during the first partial solar eclipse of the year, on Jan. 4, 2011. (Image credit: © Peresanz |

There's a partial solar eclipse scheduled for July 1, but don't get out your pinhole viewer. This eclipse may well be one that no one on Earth can see.

That's because the eclipse is only visible in a D-shaped region above the Antarctic Ocean south of Africa. Even the researchers who station for the winter in Antarctica nearest to the eclipse's path are unlikely to notice anything out of the ordinary, because the sun permanently settles below the horizon during Antarctic winter .

So you'll have to take NASA's word for it: At 8:38 a.m. Universal Time (or Greenwich Mean Time), the moon will pass between the sun and the Earth, blocking (as seen from Earth) 9.7 percent of the sun's face.

The invisible eclipse is the third of four partial solar eclipses this year. The first wowed skywatchers in Europe on Jan. 4, while the second one was visible only in very high latitudes of Siberia, Canada, China and Scandinavia.

The final partial solar eclipse of 2011 will fall on Nov. 25. That eclipse, too, is expected to be visible only from the Southern Hemisphere, including Antarctica, southern South Africa, most of New Zealand and Tasmania.

You can follow LiveScience senior writer Stephanie Pappas on Twitter @sipappas. Follow LiveScience for the latest in science news and discoveries on Twitter @livescience and on Facebook.

Stephanie Pappas

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.