Total Solar Eclipse

July’s total solar eclipse — the longest of the 21st century — will cover parts of Asia.  Unfortunatley we cannot see it in America. 


The Sun and the Moon align July 22, 2009, for this year’s only total solar eclipse. A cone of darkness will cut a narrow course through eastern Asia and the western Pacific. The Moon’s dark face will block the Sun’s brilliant disk for up to 6 minutes and 39 seconds, making this the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century.

Two factors make this the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century. First, the Sun is at its farthest point from Earth July 4. By July 22, the Sun hasn’t come much closer, so it appears near its smallest in our sky. A small Sun means the Moon can cover it longer.

Second, the Moon comes closest to Earth in 2009 — and thus appears biggest — less than 5 hours before the eclipse begins. Just as a small Sun lengthens an eclipse, a large Moon covers the Sun longer. The Sun and Moon normally appear about the same size in our sky. At maximum eclipse July 22, the Moon appears 6.2 percent bigger.


Track of the eclipse

A really good website explaining solar exlipses can be found here:



One Response

  1. It’s a bummer that we won’t be able to view this event. I guess I’ll have to wait for photos… :o(

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