The Annular Solar Eclipse, New Moon and Chinese New Year

Source: TimeWerke Videos on YouTube.

The video above shows the annular solar eclipse that took place on 26 December 2019 as seen from western Singapore.

Why is this 26 December 2019 annular solar eclipse significant?

What is its link to the Chinese New Year that falls on 25 January 2020?

But first: did you know that China only adopted the Western calendar or Gregorian calendar in 1912?

Not surprisingly, that was the same year the Chinese celebrated New Year’s Day on 1 January. New Year’s Day is also a National holiday in China.

The Gregorian calendar was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582.

The Chinese continue to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year as well, one that is, as its name implies, based on the Moon’s orbit around Earth. The Chinese lunar calendar is believed to have been in use since 1200 B.C.

The origin of Chinese New Year dates back to as early as in the 14th century B.C. during the reign of the Shang Dynasty (circa 1600 BC to 1046 BC), based on astronomical records carved on Oracle bones that were discovered.

The Lunar New Year for the Chinese, also known as the Spring Festival, always begins with a New Moon. It falls on the second New Moon after the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, or two New Moons before the March Equinox. That will be the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month based on the Chinese calendar.

The Winter Solstice took place on 22 December 2019 while the first new Moon after it took place on 26 December 2019 – the day of the annular solar eclipse, otherwise known as the “ring of fire”.

Solar eclipses can occur only during the New Moon phase where there is a cosmic alignment between the Earth, the Moon and the Sun. The New Moon phase marks the beginning of the 29.5-day lunar cycle.

The 26 December 2019 annular solar eclipse was the third and final eclipse of the year. The only annular solar eclipse in 2019 was also the last solar eclipse of the decade. The next annular solar eclipse will occur on 21 July 2020.

The second New Moon in Beijing, China and Singapore after the 2019 Winter Solstice will take place on 25 January 2020. This is the day when the Chinese Lunar New Year is celebrated.