The longest total solar eclipse of 21st century that crosses half of the world is taking place on Wednesday 22 July 2009. Its umbral path begins from Gulf of Khambhat in western coast of India and passes through eastern Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and China. After leaving mainland Asia, it hurries towards Japan's Ryukyu Islands and curves southeast through the Pacific Ocean where the maximum duration of totality reaches astoundingly six minutes and thirty nine seconds on areas southeast of Bonin Islands. It will end near Marshall Islands roughly after three and half hours. The awe-inspiring partial eclipse can be seen within broader track of the moon's penumbral shadow, which includes most of eastern Asia, Indonesia and the Pacific Ocean. This once-in-a-life-time total solar eclipse can be enjoyed on this day especially from 14 districts while the partial eclipse could be observed from remaining 61 districts of Nepal from 05:45 to 07:47 hours in the morning .The Sun and Moon are located between zodiacal constellations Cancer (crab) and Gemini (twins). The last Total Solar Eclipse seen in Nepal was on January 22, 1898 and the next one will be on May 14, 2124 A.D.
Solar eclipse is a spectacular natural phenomenon that occurs when the shadow of moon falls upon earth’s surface. The moon orbits earth that is also rushing around the Sun along so-called ecliptic plane. Both earth and moon produce no light of their own, but could create their shadows on one another by blocking the sunlight falling upon them. The moon is earth’s fascinating satellite. It is the fifth largest one in our Solar System. The mean distance from earth to moon is fairly 385 thousand kilometers.The moon completes its orbit around earth in 27.3 days (sidereal period), but due to periodic variations in the geometry of earth–moon–Sun, its phases are repeated every 29.5 days (synodic period). Its diameter is fairly 3.5 thousand kilometers.
The plane of moon’s trajectory is slightly tilted (by about five degrees) to that of earth's trail around Sun. These two planes intersect each other at two points dubbed as lunar nodes. Earth scoots around the ecliptic, while the moon glides around its own orbital plane. When moon arrives near the node during new moon, it can eclipse the Sun. As lunar shadow plunges on earth, we can scrutinize the awesome solar eclipse, but when the moon is at opposite node’s proximity during full moon, it can be steeped into earth's shadow and we could witness fascinating lunar eclipse.
Amateur astronomers and eclipse-chasers could photograph this arcane celestial event. During final instants before totality, the light shining through valleys in moon's surface seemingly mimics beads on lunar periphery. The eerie last flash of light from the Sun’s surface disappears and displays the famous diamond ring image. Scientific community, amateurs and professionals are waiting eagerly during the present International Year of Astronomy to relish this incredibly thrilling celestial marvel. Watching solar eclipse directly is irreparably harmful to eye-sight. It is vehemently advised to behold this wonderful eclipse indirectly on reflected images or only through certified protective glasses or shades to avoid any permanent damage to the eyes. We strongly recommend making Projection Boxes, that are easy to make and safe for the Observation of the Solar Eclipse.
For more information please contact:
Rishi Shah, Academician, NAST; President, NASO-9851024673, 5000071, 5000273
Jayanta Acharya,IYA SPoC-Nepal ;Balmiki Campus-9841313313
Suresh Bhattarai, NASO-9841485867