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SR Vol.47(01) [January 2010] >


Title: Look Out For The Annular Solar Eclipse
Authors: Deshmukh, Shishir
Issue Date: Jan-2010
Publisher: CSIR
Abstract:  The annular solar eclipse on 15 January 2010 will be the biggest eclipse of its kind in this century. Obscuring a large section of the Sun for more than 11 minutes, the Moon’s reversed shadow will run from Africa to China brushing India’s southeastern edge. This golden ring eclipse belongs to a special family of solar eclipses that has a lot of such rings in its ornament box.
ECLIPSES are one of the most spectacular astronomical events that mesmerize people. Every year about three to four eclipses occur. For a particular area the frequency of occurrence of a total solar eclipse is 375 years and for annular eclipse it is 226 years. However, conditions conducive to the eclipse are not rare. The conjunction of sun, moon and earth repeats after one synodic month (the duration between two consecutive new moons). It is also called a lunation. The position of the sun with respect to its node is very vital for the occurrence of the eclipse. With detailed study of lunar motion and the gradual shift of the nodes, it is found that eclipses can be repeated after one, five or six lunations. However, the positions of the sun, moon and earth change during this span. Hence, even though the eclipse is repeated, the immediately succeeding eclipse differs drastically from the earlier eclipse. Let’s consider the similarities and differences between the eclipses so repeated. An eclipse repeated after one lunation occurs at the same node of the moon’s orbit. One of the eclipses occurring on consecutive new moons is always a partial eclipse. One of these consecutive eclipses occurs at the south of the ecliptic and the other one occurs at the north of the ecliptic. Further, the consecutive solar eclipses are seen from different geographical areas. Eclipses repeated after five or six lunations occur at different nodes and are seen from different geographical regions.
Page(s): 46-48
ISSN: 0036-8512
Source:SR Vol.47(01) [January 2010]

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