Totally awesome total eclipses

600px-Solar_eclips_1999_5

One of the most famous eclipses in recent history, the event of 11 August 1999 that fell over Europe, was a total solar eclipse.

Scientists figure it was one of the most viewed eclipses in human history because the path of totality fell over densely populated areas.

In addition to eclipse-watching parties, there was substantial coverage on European TV stations, such as BBC, as well as stations in Asia, like Doordarshan, the national TV channel in India, which broadcast a live coverage from Srikakulam.

There was even a live webcast shown at the Exploratorium in San Francisco from a crowded town square in Amasya, Turkey, 

The moon’s shadow was also observed from the Russian Mir space station; during the eclipse, video from Mir was broadcast live on television.

Photo: Luc Viatour

The path of the moon‘s shadow began in the Atlantic Ocean and, before noon, was traversing Cornwall, Devon, northern France, Luxembourg, soutern Germany, Austria, Hungary, and northern Serbia.

Its maximum was at 11:03 UTC at 45.1°N 24.3°E in Romania.

And it continued to cross over Bulgaria, the Black Sea, Turkey, Iran, southern Pakistan, India, before ending in the Bay of Bengal.

Image Credit: Fred Espanek ©2000Here’s a cool animation of the path of totality by Fred Espenak of NASA.

Check out the tiny dark dot that moves across the Earth. That’s the path of totality — the areas that would experience the total solar eclipse. And compare it to the wider, lighter area of the penumbra — the areas that would only see a partial eclipse.

Now that’s how rare a chance to catch a total solar eclipse is.

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3 Responses to “Totally awesome total eclipses”

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