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Annular Solar Eclipse: February 7, 2008

Geographic Region: Antarctica, eastern Australia, New Zealand
[Annular: Antarctica]

The first solar eclipse of 2008 occurs at the Moon's ascending node in Capricornus. An annular eclipse will be visible from a wide track, that traverses Antarctica and southern regions of the Pacific Ocean. A partial eclipse will be seen within the much larger path of the Moon's penumbral shadow, which includes the southeastern third of Australia, all of New Zealand and most of Antarctica.

The annular path begins in Antarctica at 03:20 UT when the Moon's antumbral shadow meets Earth and forms a 581 kilometre wide corridor near the base of the continent's peninsula region. Traveling westward, the shadow quickly crosses Antarctica and turns north as it heads into the Pacific. Greatest eclipse takes place at 03:55:05 UT when the eclipse magnitude will reach 0.9650. At this instant, the annular duration is 2 minutes 12 seconds, the path width is 444 kilometres and the Sun is 16° above the featureless horizon of the open ocean. The central track continues north before gradually curving to the east where it ends at local sunset at 04:31 UT. During its 1 hour 10 minute flight across our planet, the Moon's antumbra travels approximately 5,600 kilometres and covers 0.59% of Earth's surface area.

The most unusual characteristic of this eclipse is that it begins and ends along Earth's sunset terminator. Most eclipse paths that travel from west to east. However, the 2008 annular eclipse path begins by running east to west and slowly turns north before curving west to east near its terminus.

This is the 60th eclipse of Saros 121. The series began with the first of six partial eclipses on 0944 Apr 25. The first central eclipse was total in the Northern Hemisphere on 1070 Jul 10. It was followed by 41 more total eclipses before the series produce two hybrid eclipses in 1827 and 1845. The first annular eclipse of the series occurred on 1863 Nov 11. The series will produce 11 annular eclipses the last of which is 2044 Feb 28. This means there are only two more central eclipses after the 2008 eclipse. The series terminates on 2206 Jun 07 after 9 more partial eclipses.


Eclipse map and predictions courtesy of Fred Espenak - NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.
For more information on solar and lunar eclipses, see Fred Espenak's Eclipse Home Page:






Solar Eclipses for Students and Beginners!

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