Solar Eclipse 2008

August 1st 2008 will see a solar eclipse visible across much of Asia, Europe, the Middle East and some portions of North America. Maximum totality is seen in Siberia, but you can also see the Moon totally obscure the Sun in many parts of China (and the North Pole if you’re about). The eclipse is often being called the 2008 Olympic Eclipse because it comes just days before the commencement of the Summer Olympics in Beijing.

In other parts of the Old World, a partial eclipse will be seen. The regions covered by partial eclipse are seen in the above diagram outlined in light blue, with totality in dark blue. If you want to know the details of what can be seen in your area, then I’d use the very handy Google Map provided by NASA.

This map allows you to double-click anywhere and find the start, maximum and end times for the eclipse that is visible in your locality. For example, in Cardiff the eclipse begins at 0930 (BST) and ends an hour and a half later.  You are also told the eclipse magnitude, which is basically a measure of how much of the Sun’s face, the Moon will cover. In Cardiff this will be around 21%.

Check out the site for info on your own area and if you plan to watch the eclipse, don’t forget to either project the Sun’s image onto a piece of paper, or order a set of eclipse viewing glasses.

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