Composite image of the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. A hybrid solar eclipse is a combination of a total, partial and annular solar eclipse but it’s impossible to experience both an annual and total solar eclipse during a hybrid event, so you have to make a choice! (Image credit: Alan Dyer/VW Pics/UIG via Getty Images)
A hybrid solar eclipse is a very rare and strange astronomical event — and there’s one coming soon on April 20, 2023.
Talk to most eclipse-chasers and they’ll tell you that there are three types of solar eclipse. The first is a partial eclipse of the most common and the least impressive because the moon merely blocks out part of the sun sending a shadow — the penumbra — across a swathe of Earth.The second is an annular solar eclipse, where the moon blocks out the center of the sun, but leaves a circle of light from the sun visible from within a shadow called the antumbra. It’s often called a “ring of fire”. The third is a total solar eclipse where the entirety of the sun’s disc is blocked by the moon, revealing the spectacular sight of the solar corona, which can be viewed with the naked eye from within the moon’s dark shadow, the umbra.
However, there is an intriguing fourth type of solar eclipse — a hybrid solar eclipse — that occurs only a few times per century. It’s a combination of the other three types yet it’s also impossible to experience in all its glory. As luck would have it, the next solar eclipse to occur on Earth will be a hybrid solar eclipse. Here’s everything you need to know about the coming hybrid solar eclipse — the rarest, most intriguing, and arguably the most globally spectacular and interesting type of solar eclipse there is.