Total Solar Eclipse – 1 August 2008

On 1 August 2008, our Moon will pass directly in front of our Sun. This is known as total solar eclipse.

Unfortunately, total solar eclipse is only visible along a narrow path on Earth – the “path of totality” (about 200 km wide) – so not every place on Earth can witness this event. Our Moon’s umbral shadow will fall on parts of Canada, Greenland, the Arctic Ocean, central Russia, Mongolia, and finally ends in China.

The best part of a total solar eclipse is the moment of totality, when the Moon totally obscured the Sun. It only happens briefly, the most the Sun can be blocked by the Moon is 7 min 40 sec, and usually it is less than that. During totality, the usually invisible corona – the Sun’s outer atmosphere – becomes visible. The corona extends far from the sun’s visible surface and can reach temperatures up to 2 million degrees. It is an awe-inspiring vision for first-time viewers and a sight coveted by experienced eclipse watchers. 

Total Solar Eclipse 2008. Click to enlarge.

For animated version of the solar eclipse, visit

The instant of greatest eclipse occurs at 10:21:07 UT when the axis of the Moon’s shadow passes closest to the centre of the Earth. When totality reaches its maximum duration of 2 min 27 sec, the Sun’s altitude is 34 degrees and the path width is 237 km. The nearest city is the Russian city Nadym.

A partial eclipse is seen within the much broader path of the Moon’s penumbral shadow, which includes northeastern North America, most of Europe, Middle East, India and Asia.

Now, the technology is so advanced that if you are unable to be at the path of totality, there is still somebody out there that can bring the whole event to you. The Exploratorium’s eclipse expedition team will Webcast the eclipse LIVE starting 1030 UT (6:30 pm Malaysia Time) on Aug 1 (Friday) from the remote Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwestern China near the Mongolian border. Or alternately you can tune into NASA TV for complete coverage.

The contact time for the eclipse in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China.

I’ve never been under the Moon’s shadows before, so I don’t know how it feels like. But from what I’ve read through the experiences of others, it is so spectacular and you have to be there to personally feel it, no word is ever sufficient to describe the feeling…

Yes, seeing the eclipse “live” through computer and seeing it live under the Moon’s shadow are two very different things. So that’s why I plan to go to China for the July 2009 solar eclipse next year, to experience the most spectacular event in all of Nature!

“The total eclipse of the Sun is the most spectacular event in all of Nature! Few people have ever witnessed one, but once seen it is an experience never to be forgotten. The Moon’s dark shadow plunges you into an eerie twilight and the Sun’s mysterious and incredibly beautiful corona is revealed… from”

Additional information:
NASA Eclipse Website
Mr. Eclipse (Fred Espenak)
China Eclipse 2008 (Beijing Planetarium)
Total Solar Eclipse of 2008 Aug 01.pdf – a very complete information on this solar eclipse


~ by thChieh on July 30, 2008.

3 Responses to “Total Solar Eclipse – 1 August 2008”

  1. […] Total Solar Eclipse – 1 August 2008 « My Dark Sky […]

  2. […] pm Malaysia Time, remember to tune in to the Exploratorium’s eclipse Webcast to watch the total solar eclipse LIVE through your […]

  3. […] month, we are blessed with two eclipses: a total solar eclipse on August 1 and two weeks later on August 17, we have a partial lunar […]

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