Total Solar Eclipse on August 1st, 2008

By Meera Dolasia on July 17, 2008

On August 1st a very narrow corridor of the Earth will be treated to a special treat - a total solar eclipse. The areas that will be touched include parts of Northern Canada, Siberia, Western Mongolia and China.

The moon's penumbra (see below) will encompass a wider region, resulting in a partial solar eclipse in Eastern North America and most of Europe and Asia.

While solar eclipses are not rare, total solar eclipses are coveted events because they cover very narrow corridors of the Earth and don't occur at the same spots very often. For example, the last total solar eclipse seen in North America occurred on February 26, 1979 and the next one is not until August 21st, 2017!

Also when they do occur, total eclipses last for very short periods of time. In fact the longest duration of a total solar eclipse is seven and a half minutes.

However, a total eclipse is one of the most amazing sights in the world.

The sky takes on a strange glow as the bright sun is completely blocked by the dark moon. The moon's outline is beautifully lit up by the Sun's ray's trying to escape from behind. This is the extended outer atmosphere of the Sun and is known as the Sun's Corona. Scientists take these rare and fleeting opportunities to figure out conducting experiments to figure out various things why it is so hot or what causes solar flames and if they can be predicted.

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, so that the Sun is partially or totally covered. Solar eclipses can only occur during new moon, when the moon is between the Earth and the Sun. Whether it will be a total or partial eclipse depends on where the moon is in its orbit. Since the moon's orbit around the earth is not perfectly round but oval, it's distance from the Earth varies from about 221,500 to 252,000 miles. Whenever its orbit brings it closer to the Earth, it appears larger then the Sun, and when the three align, a total eclipse occurs.

While total solar eclipses are safe to watch with the naked eye, partial are not. That's because the reflection emits intense infrared and ultra violet radiation, which can cause permanent eye damage, even if exposed only for a few minutes. Hence protective glasses should always be worn while watching a solar eclipse.

Over the years, total solar eclipses have become a major tourist draw. Currently, a number of tour companies in Siberia and China are offering overnight tours to view the August 1st total solar eclipse.

Don't forget to watch the two amazing videos below. The first one was shot in Turkey during the last total solar eclipse in 2006. Watch how the beautiful sunny day turns to night and back to sunny again as the eclipse ends.

NASA's STEREO spacecraft filmed the second video - the disk zooming across is the moon passing in front of the sun - simply amazing!

Sources: Mr. Eclipse.com, Wikipedia.org, Space.com

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11 Comments
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  • l_linnell_117
    l_linnell_117Saturday, June 24, 2017 at 12:49 pm
    I can not believe I was only 2 when this happened
    • UnknownTuesday, February 7, 2017 at 7:35 am
      The fact that there was a solar eclipse happened and I didn't know!!!! Such a shock.
      • hunterThursday, November 17, 2016 at 12:42 pm
        hahahahahaha
        • lovesoccer123Sunday, November 9, 2014 at 2:48 pm
          cool! I have never seen one before ever.
          • animal loverTuesday, October 7, 2014 at 4:02 pm
            I never saw a solar eclipse in my life, but when there is one I will see it! :D
            • animal loverTuesday, October 7, 2014 at 4:00 pm
              I never saw a solar eclipse in my life, but when there is one I'm going to see it! :D
              • sharanya8
                sharanya8Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 4:05 pm
                I never saw a solar eclipse in my entire life. I have always wanted to, though you need special glasses to see it. If you watched a solar eclipse with your bare eyes, after a few seconds you would be blind. That happens because the sun's rays are to strong for your eyes. Unfortunately, you can become blind if you are careless and watch a solar eclipse with your OWN eyes.
                • MysterymanWednesday, October 1, 2014 at 1:18 pm
                  cool i gonna see a lunar eclipse
                  • swirlylollypops
                    swirlylollypopsTuesday, January 24, 2012 at 9:19 am
                    so pretty...i watched an eclipse before, i think...
                    • 莉娜 Lì nuó LenaFriday, March 26, 2010 at 12:55 pm
                      beautiful just beautiful. i have seen an eclipse before the sun was all orange and i could stare at it 4 ever! well i think it was an eclipse.

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