Sunday, 25 October 2009
Solar Eclipse & The Moon
TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE ON 22 July 2009
Millions of people in Asia will see the longest total solar eclipse this century on Wednesday as swaths of India and China are plunged into darkness.
Scores of amateur stargazers and scientists will travel long distances for the eclipse, which will last for about five minutes.
The eclipse will first appear in the Gulf of Khambhat just north of Mumbai.
It will move east across India, Nepal, Burma, Bangladesh, Bhutan and China before hitting the Pacific.
The eclipse will cross some southern Japanese islands and will last be visible from land at Nikumaroro Island in the South Pacific nation of Kiribati.
Elsewhere, a partial eclipse will be visible across much of Asia.
The previous total eclipse, in August 2008, lasted two minutes and 27 seconds. This one will last six minutes and 39 seconds at its maximum point.
Alphonse Sterling, a Nasa astrophysicist who will be following the eclipse from China, scientists are hoping data from the eclipse will help explain solar flares and other structures of the sun and why they erupt.
"We'll have to wait a few hundred years for another opportunity to observe a solar eclipse that lasts this long, so it's a very special opportunity," Shao Zhenyi, an astronomer at the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory in China told the Associated Press news agency.
Solar scientist Lucie Green, from University College London, is aboard an American cruise ship heading for that point near the Japanese island of Iwo Jima, where the axis of the Moon's shadow will pass closest to Earth.
"The [Sun's] corona has a temperature of 2 million degrees but we don't know why it is so hot," she said.
"What we are going to look for are waves in the corona. ... The waves might be producing the energy that heats the corona. That would mean we understand another piece of the science of the Sun."
The next total solar eclipse will occur on 11 July next year. It will be visible in a narrow corridor over the southern hemisphere, from the southern Pacific Ocean to Argentina.
For Karachi the eclipse will be a partial eclipse (80%) starting from 00:59 and ending at 1:48 UTC. You may ask me for the data of other locations.
I can also tell you where to look for the new Islamic month's crescent. Just give me your city's name, that's all!
The Sha'baan moon's conjuction (birth) will take place at 00:58 UTC, on the 22nd of July 2009, and it will be visible much later depending on your geographical location and weather conditions.