City of Brass

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Solar eclipse today

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There’s an annular solar eclipse today, with peak eclipse at about 07:06 UT – only affecting the Eastern Hemisphere, with path of maximum eclipse passing almost along the equator across Africa, the tip of India, and across Indonesia and China. Here’s the PDF from NASA with the graphical path and here’s the details from NASA’s 2010 eclipse page:

The first solar eclipse of 2010 occurs at the Moon’s ascending node in western Sagittarius. An annular eclipse will be visible from a 300-km-wide track that traverses central Africa, the Indian Ocean and eastern Asia (Espenak and Anderson, 2008). A partial eclipse is seen within the much broader path of the Moon’s penumbral shadow, which includes eastern Europe, most of Africa, Asia, and Indonesia (Figure 1).

The annular path begins in westernmost Central African Republic at 05:14 UT. Because the Moon passes through apogee two days later (Jan 17 at 01:41 UT), its large distance from Earth produces an unusually wide path of annularity. Traveling eastward, the shadow quickly sweeps through Uganda, Kenya, and southern Somalia while the central line duration of annularity grows from 7 to 9 minutes.

For the next two hours, the antumbra crosses the Indian Ocean, its course slowly curving from east-southeast to northeast. The instant of greatest eclipse [1] occurs at 07:06:33 UT when the eclipse magnitude [2] will reach 0.9190. At this instant, the duration of annularity is 11 minutes 8 seconds, the path width is 333 kilometers and the Sun is 66° above the flat horizon formed by the open ocean. Such a long annular duration will not be exceeded for over 1000 years (3043 Dec 23).

The central track continues northeast where it finally encounters land in the Maldive Islands (07:26 UT). The capital city Male experiences an annular phase lasting 10 minutes 45 seconds This is the longest duration of any city having an international airport in the eclipse track.

When the antumbra reaches Asia the central line passes directly between the southern tip of India and northern Sri Lanka (07:51 UT). Both regions lie within the path where maximum annularity lasts 10 minutes 15 seconds Quickly sweeping over the Bay of Bengal the shadow reaches Burma where the central line duration is 8 minutes 48 seconds and the Sun’s altitude is 34°.

By 08:41 UT, the central line enters China. The shadow crosses the Himalayas through Yunnan and Sichuan provinces Chongqing lies directly on the central line and witnesses a duration of 7 minutes 50 seconds with the Sun 15° above the horizon. Racing through parts of Shaanxi and Hubei provinces, the antumbra’s speed increases as the duration decreases. In its final moments, the antumbra travels down the Shandong Peninsula and leaves Earth’s surface (08:59 UT).



  • Dawn

    Hi Aziz,
    Not sure of the significance of today’s blog to the subject of Islam. Can you clarify? Thanks.

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