Total Solar Eclipse – Spectacular Celestial Show
On 1st August 2008 there was a spectacular celestial show given by the sun and moon. On that Friday morning a total solar eclipse occurred. This stunning visual treat was seen by the residents of eastern and northern regions of North America, Northern Europe, Central Russia, Greenland and Asia excluding Japan. The solar eclipse lasted for approximately four hours, thirty-four minutes.
The solar eclipse began when moon partially hid the sun in the morning around 8:04 a.m. GMT or 4:04 a.m. EDT. The total solar eclipse started around 9:21 a.m. GMT or 5:21 a.m. EDT. The major part (the central eclipse) of the solar eclipse started at 10:21 a.m. GMT. The moon completely hid the Sun for approximately two minutes, twenty-seven seconds. The conclusion of the central eclipse began around 11:18 a.m. GMT and completely concluded by 12:38 p.m. GMT.
What is Total Solar Eclipse?
A solar eclipse is a normal stellar phenomenon, but a total solar eclipse occurs once in every 375 years. Total solar eclipses occur when the moon passes between Earth and the sun. During this time, the sun is partially or wholly hidden by the moon.
When the moon comes in between the Earth and the sun, its shadow falls on the Earth and people within that shadow range see that portion of the sun’s light being blocked by the moon. The moon’s shadow consists of two parts: a penumbra and an umbra. Penumbra is the outer shadow of the moon, whereas an umbra is the inner part of the moon’s shadow.
In the case of a total solar eclipse like the one on 1st August 2008, regions falling under the moon’s umbral shadow observed that the moon was totally hiding the Sun. The sun totally hidden by the moon is also called the “Path of Totality”. The regions under the penumbral shadow of the moon observed that the moon was partially covered the sun.
Facts of Solar Eclipses:
In the year 2008, a solar eclipse occurred twice. The first solar eclipse of 2008 occurred on the sixth and seventh of February. Some interesting facts about solar eclipses are listed below:
- Assyria is known to have the earliest records of a solar eclipse dating back to 753 B.C.
- In the year 1919, a solar eclipse helped confirm Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
- Until 2008, seven and a half minutes was considered to be the longest duration of a total solar eclipse.
- At the equator, the traveling speed of the eclipse shadow is 1,100 miles per hour, whereas it is 5,000 miles per hour near the poles.
- Every year two solar eclipses occur somewhere on Earth. .
- From the North and South Poles of Earth only partial eclipses can be visualized.
- Five solar eclipses (partial, total or annual) can occur in a year.
- After eighteen years and eleven days or 6,585.32 days almost identical eclipses (partial, total or annual) will occur.
- It is observed that every eclipse starts at sunrise at some point in its track and ends at sunset about half way around the world from the start point.
- At the time of totality, local birds and animals often behave confused or prepare to sleep.
- As totality approaches it is observed that a crescent shadow forms by the light filtering through the leaves of tree.
- At totality there can be a fall in temperature of twenty degrees or more.
- Scientifically, solar eclipses are interesting because it allows people to see rare glimpses of a cooler corona, solar flares and glowing gases.