The total solar eclipse which just occured on the 22nd of July 2009 was the longest in terms of maximum totality duration of the 21st century – lasting over six and a half minutes. Not since Saros 1991 have astronomers and eclipse chasers been treated to such a length of time! The eclipse footprint started in India along the western shore near Surat moved towards Butan and reached the southern tip of Nepal and the northern edge of Bangladesh. For other lucky astronomers, the eclipse path also took the event over the Chinese cities of Chengdu, Suining, Chonging, Wuhan, Xiaogan, Hangzhou, and Shanghai – yielding five minutes of totality. Leaving Shanghai the shadow raced across the ocean to fall across islands such as Toshima and Akusaki south of Japan and eventually the Marshall islands. Where did the longest time occur? The maximum eclipse duration of 6 minutes and 43 seconds was far off the coast in the Pacific Ocean! As I write this announcement, our readers are sending in their photos and stories to my home email (send them!!) and I just couldn’t wait to show you some of the beginning results. It will take a short time to do a little translation work… But it’s a small, wonderful world and this article will be updated very soon!
Tammy was a professional astronomy author, President Emeritus of Warren Rupp Observatory and retired Astronomical League Executive Secretary. She’s received a vast number of astronomy achievement and observing awards, including the Great Lakes Astronomy Achievement Award, RG Wright Service Award and the first woman astronomer to achieve Comet Hunter’s Gold Status.
(Tammy passed away in early 2015… she will be missed)