A total eclipse of the Sun occurred on Wednesday 4 December, 2002 UT, lasting from 04:51–10:11 UT. A dramatic total eclipse plunged the Sun into darkness for 2 minutes and 4 seconds at maximum, creating an amazing spectacle for observers in a path up to 87 km wide. It was seen across southern Africa, the south Pacific, and southern Australia. The partial eclipse was visible in most of Africa, and western Australia.

The timings of the phases of the overall eclipse worldwide are as follows. In any particular place it would have been seen for a significantly shorter duration as the shadow moved across the Earth:

Partial eclipse began: 04:51:24 UT
Total eclipse began: 05:50:21 UT
Maximum eclipse: 07:31:12 UT
Total eclipse ended: 09:11:57 UT
Partial eclipse ended: 10:11:02 UT

During this eclipse the Sun was 0.541° in apparent diameter, 1.5% larger than average. The Moon was just 2 days past perigee, making it fairly large. At the start and end of the eclipse the Moon was 0.545°, and at maximum eclipse 0.554°, which is 4.4% larger than average; hence it covered the Sun, making this a total eclipse. The statistics page has information on the ranges of the sizes of the Sun and Moon.

The total eclipse begins in the Atlantic, then crosses Africa through Angola, eastern Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Mozambique. It then passes south of Madagascar, crosses the southern Indian Ocean, and ends in South Australia, with the very last moments of the eclipse being just visible in New South Wales and Queensland.

Just after reaching land, the eclipse passes through an area of the Pureba Conservation Park north-east of Ceduna. This area will also see total solar eclipses in December 2038 and May 2068.

Interactive Map

This map shows the visibility of the eclipse. The shaded area saw the total solar eclipse; however, near the edges of this area, the eclipse was very short. The bold line shows the centre of the path, where the eclipse lasted longest.

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.

Overview Map

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 was seen. (Click on it for the full-sized version.)

Eclipse Season and Saros Series

This eclipse season contains 2 eclipses:

This was the 22nd eclipse in solar Saros series 142.The surrounding eclipses in this Saros series are:

Eclipse Parameters

UT Date/time (max) 07:31:12 on 4 Dec UT TDT Date/time (max) 07:32:16 on 4 Dec TDT
Saros Series 142 Number in Series 21
Penumbral Magnitiude Central Magnitiude 1.0244
Gamma -0.302 Path Width (km) 87
Delta T 1m04s Error ± 0m00s (95%)
Penumbral Duration Partial Duration
Total Duration 2m04s
Partial Rating Total Rating
Sun Distance 147451528 km (7.4%) Moon Distance 365229 km (17.6%)
Sun Diameter 0.541° Moon Diameter 0.545° - 0.554°
Perigee 08:54 on 2 Dec UT Apogee 03:58 on 14 Dec UT
Contact p1 04:51:24 on 4 Dec UT Contact p2
Contact u1 05:50:21 on 4 Dec UT Contact u2 05:50:50 on 4 Dec UT
Max eclipse 07:31:12 on 4 Dec UT
Contact u3 09:11:32 on 4 Dec UT Contact u4 09:11:57 on 4 Dec UT
Contact p3 Contact p4 10:11:02 on 4 Dec UT

Note that while all dates and times on this site (except where noted) are in UT, which is within a second of civil time, the dates and times shown in NASA's eclipse listings are in the TDT timescale.

The Sun and Moon distances are shown in km, and as a percentage of their minimum - maximum distances; hence 0% is the closest possible (Earth's perihelion, or the Moon's closest possible perigee) and 100% is the farthest (aphelion, the farthest apogee). The statistics page has information on the ranges of sizes of the Sun and Moon.

Data last updated: 2015-06-21 22:11:46 UTC.