Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Longest 21st century solar eclipse

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The solar eclipse of July 22, 2009 was the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century, lasting as much as 6 minutes and 39 seconds in some places. It caused tourist interest in eastern China, Nepal and India.

The eclipse was part of saros series 136, like the record-setting solar eclipse of July 11, 1991. The next event from this series will be on August 2, 2027. The exceptional duration was a result of the moon being near perigee, with the apparent diameter of the moon 8% larger than the sun (magnitude 1.080) and the Earth being near aphelion where the sun appeared slightly smaller.

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This was the second in the series of three eclipses in a month, with the lunar eclipse on July 7 and the lunar eclipse on August 6.

This solar eclipse was the longest total solar eclipse to occur in the 21st century, and will not be surpassed in duration until June 13, 2132. Totality lasted for up to 6 minutes and 39 seconds, with the maximum eclipse occurring in the ocean at 02:35:21 UTC about 100 km south of the Bonin Islands, southeast of Japan.

The uninhabited North Iwo Jima island was the landmass with totality time closest to maximum, while the closest inhabited point was Akusekijima, where the eclipse lasted 6 minutes and 26 seconds.

Source: NASA - Total Solar Eclipse of 2009 July 22

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