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Total Solar Eclipse to Occur on August 1, 2008

Those who waited for a total solar eclipse of the sun were able to rejoice when such an eclipse occurred on August 1, 2008. The path of the moon's umbral shadow begins in Canada and extends across northern Greenland, the Arctic region, central Russia, Mongolia, and China. A partial eclipse will be seen within the broader path of the moon's penumbral (partially shaded outer region) shadow, which includes northeastern North America, most of Europe, the Middle East and western parts of Asia.

Illustration image

This illustration is not to scale and shows a general total solar eclipse, not the August 2008 eclipse.

The longest duration of the solar eclipse’s totality will occur in Russia and last for about two minutes and 27 seconds at about 10:22 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on this day. Total solar eclipses happen about once every 1.5 years. Shadow bands are often seen on the ground as totality approaches.

Traveling with the Solar Eclipse in August 2008

According to Philip Harrington, the author of Eclipse! The What, Where, When, Why & How Guide to Watching Solar and Lunar Eclipses, the total solar eclipse will begin in Canada and finish in north-central China. An umbra refers to the fully shaded inner region of a shadow, especially the area on the Earth or moon experiencing totality in an eclipse. The moon’s umbra is first cast on Earth in the far northern corner of the Northwest Territories in Canada. Though the central shadow narrowly misses Cambridge Bay on Victoria Island and Resolute on Cornwallis Island, its edge just nips the town of Alert on Ellesmere Island, giving residents 40 seconds of early morning totality.

Cross the Atlantic north, the eclipse’s path skips across Greenland’s northernmost coast and comes within about 720 kilometers (450 miles) of the North Pole before heading southward toward more moderate climes. Totality of the eclipse passes by Svalbard in Norway and touches Russia’s Franz Josef Land island group before cutting across Novaya Zemlya on its way to mainland Asia.

The umbra first touches the Russian coast of the Yamal Peninsula. The solar eclipse occurs closer to the inland, producing about two minutes and 27 seconds of totality and reaches near the town of Nadym, inland from the boot shaped Gulf of Obskaja. Continuing to hook towards the southeast, the central path passes near Novosibirsk where totality lasts about two minutes and 18 seconds. The path then enters western Mongolia, with the towns of Olgij and Bulgan seeing about two minutes of a total eclipse. A total eclipse then occurs in north-central China before leaving Earth just north of the cities of Lanzhou and Xian. A partial eclipse will be seen throughout northeastern North America, most of Europe, the Middle East and western parts of Asia.

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