Tuesday, March 28, 2006

March 2006 Solar Eclipse

Below is a very nice description of the coming eclipse of the sun from: Astrology On The Web

The March 29 Solar Eclipse

The year's first solar eclipse occurs on Wednesday, March 29, 2006. A total eclipse will be visible from within a narrow corridor, which traverses half the Earth. The path of the Moon's shadow begins in Brazil and extends across the Atlantic, northern Africa, and central Asia, where it ends at sunset in western Mongolia. A partial eclipse will be seen within the much broader path of the Moon's penumbral shadow, which includes the northern two thirds of Africa, Europe, and central Asia.

The eclipse path begins in eastern Brazil, where the Moon's umbra first touches down on Earth at 08:36 UT (Universal Time, or GMT), creating a 129-kilometre wide path. The umbra is the dark central zone of the Moon's shadow, as opposed to the penumbra, which is the lighter, outer part of the shadow. It quickly leaves Brazil and races across the Atlantic Ocean with no landfall for the next half hour. After crossing the equator, the shadow enters the Gulf of Guinea and encounters the coast of Ghana at 09:08 UT. The 1.7 million inhabitants of Ghana's capital city Accra can expect a total eclipse lasting 2 minute 58 seconds (09:11 UT).

Moving inland the umbra enters Togo at 09:14 UT. Unfortunately, the capital city Lome lies just outside the southern limit so its inhabitants will only witness a grazing partial eclipse. Two minutes later, the leading edge of the umbra reaches Benin, whose capital Porto-Novo experiences a deep partial eclipse. Continuing northeast, the shadow's axis enters Nigeria at 09:21 UT. Since Lagos is situated about 120 kilometres outside the umbra's southern limit, its population of over eight million will witness a partial eclipse of magnitude 0.968.

The umbra's axis takes about sixteen minutes to cross western Nigeria before entering Niger at 09:37 UT. During the next hour, the shadow traverses some of the most remote and desolate deserts on the planet. When the umbra reaches northern Niger (10:05 UT), it briefly enters extreme northwestern Chad before crossing into southern Libya.

The instant of greatest eclipse occurs at 10:11:18 UT when the axis of the Moon's shadow passes closest to the center of the Earth. Continuing on a northeastern course, the umbra crosses central Libya and reaches the Mediterranean coast at 10:40 UT. Northwestern Egypt also lies within the umbral path where the central duration is 3 minutes 58 seconds.

Passing directly between Crete and Cyprus, the track reaches the southern coast of Turkey at 10:54 UT. With a population of nearly 3/4 million people, Antalya lies 50 kilometres northwest of the central line. The coastal city's inhabitants are positioned for a total eclipse lasting 3 minutes 11 seconds while observers on the central line receive an additional 35 seconds of totality. Konya is 25 kilometres from path center and experiences a 3 minute 36 second total phase beginning at 10:58 UT. Crossing mountainous regions of central Turkey, the Moon's shadow intersects the path of the
1999 Aug 11 total eclipse. A quarter of a million people in Sivas have the opportunity of witnessing a second total eclipse from their homes in less than seven years. Let's trust that they do not suffer the fate of so many of their compatriots under the previous cosmic time-bomb.

The eclipse will begin at 11:44 and the sun will be fully eclipsed at 12:41 - the eclipse ending at 13:39 European time CalSky-Germany

No comments: