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Eclipse Details

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Total Solar Eclipse,

22th July 2009

On Wednesday, July 22 of this year, a total eclipse will be visible from within a narrow corridor, which traverses half the Earth. The path of the Moon's umbral shadow begins in India, extends across Nepal, Bangladeshm Bhutan and Southern China, to reach the Pacific Ocean through Shanghai. After crossing some islands South of Japan, it reaches its maximum duration (6 m 39 s) in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It ends at China. A partial eclipse will be seen within a much broader path of the Moon's penumbral shadow, which includes the Southeast Asia, the whole of India, Siberia and the Pacific Ocean.


The central eclipse track begins in the Gulf of Khambhat (India), where the Moon's umbral shadow first touches down on Earth at 0:53 UT. At sunrise, the duration is 3 minuts 30 seconds seen from the center of the 205-kilometre wide path. The umbra crosses India, passing through Bhopal, a city of 1.5 million inhabitants. At 1:05 UT arrives to the Chinese Indian border, after crossing Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan. Here the maximum of the eclipse will be with the Sun at 28 degrees over the horizon. The next 30 minuts the umbra crosses China. Cities like Chengdu, Chonqing, Wuhan and Shanghai will experiment a totality duration up to 6 minutes in some places. After leaving the continent, the umbra will arrive to the Ryukyu Islands (Japan) at 1:57 UT.

The moment of the maximum takes place at 02:35:19 UT, when the axis of the Moon's shadow pass as near as possible from the centre of the Earth (gamma** = +0.6977). Totality arrives to its maximum duration of 6 min 39 sec, the altitude of the Sun is 86°, the path of totality is 258 km wide and the velocity is 0.65 km/s.

From then on, the shadow will only touch land on some small atolls of the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and the Phoenix Islands, all of them in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Finally the shadow of the Moon will abandon Earth at 04:18 TU, after crossing more than 15000 km.


*The moment of maximum is when the distance between the axis of the Moon's shadow and the centre of the Earth are the nearest they can be in a given eclipse. In spite of the moment of maximum is slighly different from the moment of maximum magnitude and the moment of maximum duration (for total eclipses), the differencies are generally very small.

**Gamma is the minimum distance from the axis of the Moon's shadow to the centre of the Earth measured in equatorial terrestrial radii.

(Visibility maps from F. Espenak, NASA/GSFC)

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