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A total eclipse of the Sun occurred on 11 August, 1999 AD UT. A dramatic total eclipse plunged the Sun into darkness for 2 minutes and 23 seconds at maximum, creating an amazing spectacle for observers in a path up to 112km wide. It was seen from the South-West corner of England, much of mainland Europe, the Middle East and South Asia. The partial eclipse was visible in the north-eastern U.S., Europe, the Middle East, western Asia, and northern Africa.
The timings of the phases of the eclipse are as follows:
|Partial eclipse began:||08:26:18 UT|
|Total eclipse began:||09:29:55 UT|
|Maximum eclipse:||11:03:07 UT|
|Total eclipse ended:||12:36:26 UT|
|Partial eclipse ended:||13:40:08 UT|
The final total solar eclipse of the millennium (there was none in 2000) was quite literally a once-in-a-lifetime chance for millions of people — the last total eclipse in the UK mainland was in 1927, and the next is in 2090! Even Europe will not see such an event again until 2081. This eclipse is from the same Saros series as the famous British total eclipse of Jun 29 1927, although it does not belong to the same triple Saros.
The first part of the British Isles to see a total eclipse will be the Isles of Scilly, just after 10:09 UT; although being in the south part of the eclipse's track, they won't see a maximum eclipse. Hugh Town will see a total eclipse lasting 1 minute and 46 seconds, which is still pretty good. Get as far north as possible!
The path of the total eclipse on the UK mainland is about 100km wide, but a much longer eclipse is seen at the centre of that path than the edges; so it's better to be nearer the middle than the sides of the path. Then again, the duration only falls away slowly from the centre out, and much more quickly close to the edges; so it isn't necessary to be right on the the middle. Anywhere within about 8 miles of the centerline should see a 2-minute total eclipse (or within a few seconds of that).
The centre of the track of total eclipse hits the British mainland at about Trewellard Zawn/The Avarack, to the north of Land's End. The total eclipse here will last a fraction over 2 minutes and 1 second, with the maximum eclipse at 10:11:30 UT; it will start a minute before that, and end a minute after.
The coast path there might be a good viewing point (by the same token, it might be thronged!); on a clear day, you'd see the shadow coming in over the sea, like an approaching storm; but rather quickly (over 2,000 miles an hour)!
The centre of the eclipse then moves east, past Lower Boscaswell, Crowlas, Trenwheal, and then to the southern edge of Falmouth, at Swanpool Beach. The centreline then passes over Zone Point and off into the channel; at Zone point, the total eclipse will last a fraction over 2 minutes and 2 seconds, with the maximum at 10:12:26 UT.
With the area of totality being 100km wide, anyone south of the Port Isaac - Tavistock - Teignmouth limit will see a total eclipse, but anyone on that limit will only see a very short one; Port Isaac, for example, gets 39 seconds, and Teignmouth only 14. The farther south, the longer the eclipse, until you reach the centre of track.
Padstow sees 1 minute 6 seconds of totality at 10:12 UT; Wadebridge, 1 minute 19; Bodmin, 1 minute 23; Liskeard, 1 minute 25. Farther south, Newquay and Roche are both in the dark for 1 minute 42 seconds; Lostwithiel for 1 minute 41; Saint Austell for 1 minute 53.
In order to see a 2-minute eclipse, be somewhere south of Redruth / Truro / Mevagissey and north of Porthcurno / Coverack. Within that area, position makes very little difference. At the easternmost point of the centreline, Falmouth should see the longest total eclipse in the UK.
Devon offers some excellent prospects for the eclipse-hunter; the trick is to get south. Anywhere south of Tavistock - Teignmouth will see a total eclipse, but, once again, for a decent duration, you need to be as far south of the limit as possible.
Tavistock gets a 44-second eclipse; Plymouth will see the eclipse shortly before 10:13 UT for 1 minute 42 seconds. Farther east, though, the land gets closer to the centre line; Kingsbridge gets 1 minute 56 seconds, Salcome 2 minutes and 1 second, and Prawle Point, the best viewing place in Devon, should get 2 minutes and 4 seconds, all just after 10:13 UT.
Torquay will be in the dark for 1 minute 12 seconds, shortly after 10:14 UT; Totnes gets a 1 minute 31 second eclipse. Dartmouth will be among the last places on the UK mainland to see a total eclipse, for 1 minute 44 seconds, finishing at 10:15:20 UT.
Given the terrible crowding and other problems expected in Cornwall, Devon could be a good alternative, being less geographically isolated (so more accessible); on the other hand, there's a far smaller area of land which will see a long total eclipse.
At 10:16 UT, my old home county of Dorset is very close to the eclipse: but bad luck, it just misses! Portland Bill is particularly unlucky: Pulpit Rock, on the southern tip, is off the track by just a couple of miles. Bournemouth and Weymouth will both see the sun obscured by over 99%; Weymouth's maximum eclipse is at 10:16:10 UT, and Bournemouth's is at 10:17:01 UT. Following this, the eclipse moves off into the channel, and that's it for the UK.
Alderney, in the Channel Islands, will be the last part of the British Isles to experience a total eclipse; it is in the southern part of the path of totality, and should see its greatest eclipse just after 10:16 UT; St. Anne will be in totality for 1 minute and 47 seconds. The farther north the better, here.
Guernsey, Sark, and Jersey are just south of the path of totality, and will just be missed by the shadow! St. Peter Port will see a 99.8% eclipse, which still requires precautions for safe viewing.
The path of total eclipse crosses over northern Normandy, although it is missed by the centreline. Nevertheless, Cherbourg will see a total eclipse of 1m35s, with the maximum at 10:17 UT. The centreline hits the coast near Fécamp, which will see 2m07s of total eclipse at 10:20 UT; the centreline duration is just 2m08s, and the shadow is moving at 1,800 miles per hour. Dieppe gets 2m01s of totality at 10:21 UT, Noyon will see an eclipse of 2m11s at 10:24 UT, and the city of Reims will be eclipsed for 1m59s just after 10:25 UT, by which time the centreline duration has grown to 2m12s.
The partial eclipse in north-west France will last from around 09:00 – 11:40 UT. Paris will see a partial eclipse, beginning at 09:04 UT and ending at 11:45 UT, with a maximum coverage of 99% just before 10:23 UT.
The path of totality continues across northern France, and touches Belgium and Luxembourg, before crossing into Germany. Metz will see 2m13s of totality at 10:29 UT; St. Avold, just to the east and on the centerline, sees 2m15s at 10:30 UT, which is about as long a duration as can be seen in France.
Nancy is right on the edge of the path of totality; I believe it is actually in the southern grazing zone, and will see the Sun almost obscured, but with beads of light formed by irregularities and valleys on the Moon's surface.
The path of total eclipse touches Belgium and Luxembourg, although neither is on the centre line. Bouillon in Belgium sees 50 seconds of total eclipse at 10:27 UT, and Virton, down in the southeast corner, sees 1m49s at 10:28 UT. The city of Luxembourg sees 1m20s of totality at 10:29 UT, and Dudelange, to the south, 1m55s just a little earlier.
For southwest Germany, Saarbrücken sees 2m09s of totality at 10:30 UT; but the best is yet to come, when the centreline crosses into Germany.
The partial eclipse in this area will last from around 09:10 – 11:50 UT.
The cities of southern Germany are treated well by the path of total eclipse. Karlsruhe sees 2m08s of totality, just before 10:33 UT, followed immediately by Pforzheim, nearer the centreline, with 2m15s of totality. Stuttgart sees 2m17s at 10:34 UT; Augsburg, also 2m17s, at 10:37 UT; and München, slightly south of the centreline, 2m08s at 10:38 UT. The centreline duration here is approaching 2m19s; the total eclipse has slowed down to a mere 1,600 miles per hour.
Farther off the eclipse track, Rottenburg sees 1m44s of totality just before 10:34 UT; and Ingolstadt, 1m24s at 10:38 UT. Nürnberg, outside the area of the total eclipse, will see a maximum partial eclipse of 98% at 10:37 UT, having begun at 09:16 UT.
Southern Germany will see a partial eclipse from around 09:14 UT to almost 11:58 UT.
Austria is particularly fortunate to have the path of total eclipse pass right through the country; and although Vienna will see at most a 99% partial eclipse (with the maximum at 10:46 UT), a good number of Austrian towns are in the path of totality.
Salzburg will see totality for 2m02s, and Ried im Innkreis for 2m01s, both at 10:41 UT. Kapfenberg is eclipsed for 2m16s at 10:45 UT, and Mürzzuschlag for 2m17s just afterwards. However, none of these towns is exactly on the centre, and the eastern parts of Austria on the centre line will see a total eclipse as long as 2m21s.
The partial eclipse in Austria will last from around 09:18 UT to about 12:08 UT.
As it leaves Austria, the path of total eclipse just barely touches northeast Slovenia, and then passes into Hungary. Szombathely is in an ideal location, and is rewarded with 2m22s of total eclipse, at 10:47 UT. Farther south, Zalaegerszeg sees 1m46s of totality shortly afterwards, and Székesfehérvár, towards the north side of the eclipse track, sees 1m37s just before 10:51 UT. Siófok, on Lake Balaton, is right on the centreline, with 2m22s of totality at 10:50 UT. In the southeast, Szeged is just off the centre, but will still see 2m21s of totality at 10:54 UT. The centreline duration here is over 2m22s.
The partial eclipse in Hungary will last from about 09:26 UT to around 12:13 UT. Budapest will see a maximum 99% partial eclipse at 10:51 UT.
The eclipse path partially cuts across Yugoslavia; although it is not on the centreline, it comes fairly close. Subotica will see a total eclipse lasting 1m42s, at 10:53 UT, and Kikinda will see 1m31s at 10:55 UT.
The total eclipse path cuts right across Romania, covering many towns and cities. In the west, Arad will see 2m14s of totality at 10:56 UT, and Timisoara will see 2m02s just before 10:57 UT. Lupeni and Petrosani are very close to the centreline on either side, and will see 2m22s and 2m23s of total eclipse, respectively, at 11:01 UT.
Rîmnicu-Vîlcea is close to the centreline, and, what's more, close to the point of maximum eclipse; it will see 2m22s of totality at 11:03 UT, just one second short of the actual maximum duration of 2m23s, with the shadow of the Moon moving at its slowest speed of just over 1,500 miles per hour.
The partial eclipse here will begin at about 09:34 UT and end around 12:22 UT.
After the point of maximum eclipse has passed, eclipse durations can only get shorter; but this happens quite gradually. Pitesti, right on the centreline, will see a total eclipse of 2m23s at 11:04 UT, and Bucuresti (Bucharest) will see 2m22s at 11:07 UT.
As the eclipse path approaches the Black Sea, the centreline crosses (just) into Bulgaria, so coastal towns in both countries will see significant total eclipses. Mangalia, in Romania, and Balcik, in Bulgaria, will see 2m03s and 2m02s of totality, respectively, at 11:12 UT.
Elsewhere in Bulgaria, Tutrakan will see an eclipse of 2m10s at 11:08 UT; Kavarna, also 2m10s, at 11:12 UT; and Silistra, 2m21s at 11:09 UT.
The partial eclipse in East Romania and Bulgaria will last from about 09:39 – 12:31 UT.
The track crosses the Black Sea coast into northern Turkey at 11:21 UT. Bartin, on the coast, is one of the first places to see a total eclipse, at 11:21 UT, lasting for 1m40s.
On the centreline, however, the eclipse duration is still 2m19s. Kastamonu, near the centreline, is eclipsed for 2m17s at 11:24 UT; followed by Osmancik, for 2m16s, at 11:26 UT; Amsaya and Zile, for 2m10s, and Turhal for 2m15s, all at about 11:29 UT; and Sivas, for 2m07s, at 11:32 UT.
Farther out, Corum will be eclipsed for 1m51s at 11:27 UT; and Merzifon for 2m05s at 11:28 UT. Ankara is south of the eclipse track, and will see a maximum 97% eclipse at 11:24 UT.
The area around Tokat will see the eclipse around 11:30 UT; 7 years later, it will also see the total solar eclipse of 29 March, 2006.
As the eclipse passes on into southeast Turkey, Divrigi, close to the centreline, will be eclipsed for 2m12s, at 11:34 UT; Elazig, slightly farther off centre, for 2m04s at 11:37 UT; and Ergani, for 1m48s at 11:38 UT. Diyarbakir will be in totality for 1m20s at 11:40 UT; but Silvan, closer to the centreline, for 2m04s at 11:41 UT. The area from Elazig to Batman will also see a spectacular total eclipse in 2060.
As the eclipse path crosses into Syria and Iraq, Cizre, almost on the centreline, is eclipsed for 2m06s at 11:44 UT. The centreline duration as the eclipse path leaves Turkey is down to just over 2m05s, as the eclipse shadow speeds up to 1,700 miles per hour.
Turkey will see a partial eclipse lasting from about 10:00 – 12:50 UT.
The path of total eclipse cuts briefly across north-eastern Syria, and crosses northern Iraq. Zakhu is almost exactly on the centreline, and will be under total eclipse for 2m05s at 11:45 UT. Dahuk, slightly off centre, is nevertheless eclipsed for 2m03s at 11:46 UT; Al-Mawsil is near the southern edge of the path, and is only eclipsed for 30 seconds at 11:47 UT.
As the eclipse moves southeast, Irbil is eclipsed for 1m50s at 11:48 UT; Kuysanjaq for 2m01s at 11:49 UT; and As-Sulaymaniyah for 1m56s at 11:51 UT. As the path crosses into Iran, Halabjah is eclipsed for 1m48s at 11:52 UT. Kirkuk is close to the path, and will see a maximum 99%+ eclipse at 11:50 UT. The centreline duration at this time is 2m01s.
The partial eclipse in north Iraq will last from about 10:27 – 13:03 UT.
As the eclipse passes into Iran, the centreline duration drops below 2 minutes. Marivan is eclipsed for 1m51s at 11:52 UT; and Sanandaj for 1m15s at 11:53 UT. This is followed by Bakhtaran, for 53 seconds, at 11:55 UT; and Borujerd, close to the centreline, eclipsed for 1m53s at 11:58 UT.
By 12:00 UT the centreline duration has dropped to 1m51s, and the Moon's shadow is once again moving at 2,000 miles per hour. Homayunshahr is eclipsed for 1m39s, at 12:03 UT; Shahreza for 1m34s at 12:05 UT; Rafsanjan for 1m20s at 12:11 UT; Mashiz for 1m33s at 12:12 UT; and Bam for 1m26s at 12:15 UT. By this time, the eclipse shadow is moving at 2,600 miles per hour; the centreline duration is falling rapidly now, and down to 1m33s. The area west of Rafsanjan will see a total eclipse of the Sun in 2034.
The partial eclipse in Iran will start at around 10:27 – 11:00 UT (depending on location), and end at around 13:03 – 13:20 UT.
The total eclipse track passes through south-western Pakistan, cutting across the Arabian Sea. Eclipse durations are getting significantly shorter by this time: nevertheless, the eclipse will still be exciting viewing, if the weather allows it! Unfortunately, with the Monsoon close to full blast, the chance of clear skies is pretty slim.
Hoshab will be eclipsed for 01m14s at 12:23 UT; Kandrach for 01m18s at 12:25 UT; Karachi for 01m13s at 12:26 UT; and Gharo for 01m06s at 12:28 UT. The total eclipse on the centerline will be moving at around 4,000 miles per hour, lasting for around 1m17s.
The eclipse track then crosses from Pakistan into India, close to local sunset. Lakhpat, in India, is eclipsed for 1m01s, at 12:28 UT; and Dhrangadhra, for 1m05s, at 12:30 UT; the centreline duration is now 1m07s, with the shadow flashing past at over 5,300 miles per hour. Surendranagar is eclipsed for 1m02s, and Nadiad, for 25 seconds, both at 12:31 UT.
The partial eclipse in Pakistan and western India will run from around 11:20 – 13:27 UT.
As the track crosses the sub-continent, the shadow is moving very quickly, the Sun is close to setting, and eclipse durations are dropping sharply. Unfortunately, the chance of clear skies is dropping faster, down to as low as 5%.
The total eclipse passes through a region around Shahada at around 12:32 UT which will also see the total eclipse of July 2009.
Yaval is eclipsed for 56 seconds, at 12:33 UT; Murtajapur, for 55 seconds, at 12:34 UT; Jagdalpur, for 49 seconds, at 12:35 UT; and Jeypore, close to the centre of the eclipse track, for 46 seconds at 12:35 UT. One of the last places on land to see a total eclipse will be Srikakulam, near the bay of Bengal, for 25 seconds at 12:36 UT; the centreline duration will be 42 seconds.
Finally, the eclipse finishes in the Bay of Bengal, at local sunset, 12:36:23 UT.
Eastern India will see a partial eclipse starting at about 11:30 UT, and lasting until the Moon's shadow finally leaves the Earth at sunset.
This was the 21st eclipse in Saros series 145. The previous eclipse in this series is on 31 Jul, 1981 AD; the next is on 21 Aug, 2017 AD. The previous eclipse in the Triple Saros is on 9 Jul, 1945 AD; the next is on 12 Sep, 2053 AD.
This map shows the visibility of the eclipse. The shaded area will see the total solar eclipse; however, near the edges of this area, the eclipse will be very short. The bold line shows the centre of the path, where the eclipse will last longest, so this is where you want to be if possible.
Use the zoom controls to zoom in and out; hover your mouse over any point on the centreline to see the time and duration of the eclipse at that point. You can pan and zoom the map to see detail for any part of the eclipse path.
This map sourced from NASA's Eclipse Web Site shows the visibility of the total solar eclipse. It also shows the broader area in which a partial eclipse will be seen. (Click on it for the full-sized version.)
|Saros Series||145||Saros Number||20|
|Penumbral Magnitiude||Central Magnitiude||1.0286|
|Gamma||0.5062||Path Width (km)||112|
|Delta T||64||Penumbral Duration|
|Partial Duration||Total Duration||2 minutes and 23 seconds|
|Contact p1||08:26:18 on 11 Aug UT||Contact p2|
|Contact u1||09:29:55 on 11 Aug UT||Contact u2||09:30:53 on 11 Aug UT|
|Max eclipse||11:03:07 on 11 Aug UT|
|Contact u3||12:35:34 on 11 Aug UT||Contact u4||12:36:26 on 11 Aug UT|
|Contact p3||Contact p4||13:40:08 on 11 Aug UT|
The TD Date/Time of this eclipse (as shown in NASA's eclipse listings) is 11:04:09 on 11 Aug TDT.