Total Solar Eclipse on July 22 – Longest of the Century

A total Solar Eclipse will be witnessed tomorrow, Wednesday the 22nd of July, in many parts of the world. According to NASA, a total eclipse of the Sun will be visible from within a narrow corridor that traverses half of Earth. The path of the Moon's umbral shadow will begin in India and cross through Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and China. After leaving mainland Asia, the path will cross Japan's Ryukyu Islands and curves southeast through the Pacific Ocean where the maximum duration of totality reaches 6 min 39 s. A partial eclipse will be seen within the much broader path of the Moon's penumbral shadow, which includes most of eastern Asia, Indonesia, and the Pacific Ocean.

Millions of people in India, China, and other parts of Asia will witness the total solar eclipse. Cities such as Agra and Surat, in India, as well as Chengdu, Shanghai, and Wuhan, in China, will experience the eclipse’s totality. Visitors at the Taj Mahal, will witness this eclipse ... so be there!

It is expected to be the longest total solar eclipse in the 21st century and will not surpass in duration until June 13, 2132 that's until next 123 years!

Interactive Map of the Path of Totality

An implementation of Google Map has been created which includes the central path of the 2009 total solar eclipse. This allows the user to select any portion of the path and to zoom in using either map data or Earth satellite data.
Interactive Map of 2009 Total Solar Eclipse
~ courtesy NASA

Path of the Total Solar Eclipse of 2009 Jul 22

Orthographic (Global) Projection of the 2009 Total Solar Eclipse

2009 Eclipse Path Through India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh

2009 Eclipse Path Through China

2009 Eclipse Path Through Southern Japan

2009 Eclipse Path Through the Marshall and Gilbert Islands

~ courtesy NASA

What is Solar Eclipse?

Oh dear! should have started with this question. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth so that the Sun is fully or partially covered. This can only happen during a new moon, when the Sun and Moon are in conjunction as seen from the Earth. At least two and up to five solar eclipses can occur each year on Earth, with between zero and two of them being total eclipses. Total solar eclipses are nevertheless rare at any location because during each eclipse totality exists only along a narrow corridor in the relatively tiny area of the Moon's umbra.

Types of Solar Eclipse

There are four types of solar eclipse:

 A total eclipse occurs when the Sun is completely obscured by the Moon. The intensely bright disk of the Sun is replaced by the dark silhouette of the Moon, and the much fainter corona is visible. During any one eclipse, totality is visible only from at most a narrow track on the surface of the Earth.
 An annular eclipse occurs when the Sun and Moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun. Hence the Sun appears as a very bright ring, or annulus, surrounding the outline of the Moon.
 A hybrid eclipse (also called annular/total eclipse) transitions between a total and annular eclipse. At some points on the surface of the Earth it is visible as a total eclipse, whereas at others it is annular. Hybrid eclipses are comparatively rare.
 A partial eclipse occurs when the Sun and Moon are not exactly in line and the Moon only partially obscures the Sun. This phenomenon can usually be seen from a large part of the Earth outside of the track of an annular or total eclipse. However, some eclipses can only be seen as a partial eclipse, because the umbra never intersects the Earth's surface.

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