Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Sky watchers across much of East Asia, Siberia, the North Pacific and parts of Alaska can spend the first weekend of the new year catching a glimpse of a partial solar eclipse.
The moon's central shadow, the umbra, will miss Earth, passing several hundred miles above the North Pole, but its broader, outer shadow, called the penumbra, will darken portions of the Northern Hemisphere on Saturday and Sunday.
If the moon was just a bit closer to Earth and circled the Earth in the same orbital plane, every new moon would spawn a total solar eclipse. But the moon's orbit is slightly askew, causing the moon's shadow to miss Earth more often than not.
Interestingly, this weekend's partial solar eclipse will move backwards in time, beginning to the west of the International Date Line on Sunday morning in Asia and moving east across the date line, making its appearance in Alaska on Saturday afternoon.
"On a worldwide basis, this eclipse will end the day before it begins!" Space.com notes.
The greatest eclipse -- with the largest portion of the sun darkened by the moon -- will occur above the Sakha Republic of Russia.
The most populous cities to experience Sunday's eclipse include Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing. Viewers will witness roughly a quarter of the sun's surface blocked by the moon. Portions of southwest Alaska and Alaska's Aleutian Islands will experience similar blockage just before sunset on Saturday.
"People in the Americas, Africa, and Europe will unfortunately miss the sky show," National Geographic reports.
Not to worry. Solar and lunar eclipses always come in pairs. In roughly two weeks, on Jan. 21 and 22, people of the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Middle East will experience a total eclipse of the moon.
"This year, in 2019, we have 13 new moons and 3 solar eclipses," according to EarthSky. "We also have 12 full moons and 2 lunar eclipses."