09 July 2010

Total Solar Eclipse 2010

One of the most dramatic spectacles of nature takes place Sunday July 11th, as the New Moon passes in front of the Sun and creates a Total Solar Eclipse over the South Pacific Ocean. This eclipse will be especially unique for those who travel to Easter Island to see it. As the shadow of the Moon sweeps across the ocean at speeds of up to 1000 miles per hour, the darkness will pass directly across Easter Island and the famous Moai, the large stone statues that are nearly 1000 years old.

I have experienced Total Solar Eclipses in the past and they are remarkable, not only for the brilliant image you see in the sky, but also for the dramatic changes in the environment you experience as the sky slowly darkens, the horizon changes color, the animals begin to react strangely, and the fellow eclipse-chasers react with great anticipation. Although I will not travel to this one, I plan to travel to one of the upcoming eclipses in the next few years.

For those in the US who don't want to travel far, your next chance to experience at Total Solar Eclipse will be 2017.


Anna said...

Hello I was wondering where I could obtain information about the local times that the eclipse will be occuring? I know that we will not see it here in New York but I am intrested in knowning what will be happening on the planet and when. Thanks

The Urban Astronomer said...

hi Anna - you can get all the information you want here:

Links on this page take you to very detailed maps that show the shadow path of the moon across the globe. For example, this one is for Easter Island:

It shows that the eclipse duration will be 4 minutes and 54 seconds at 20:08 universal time which is 4:08 pm in New York.

It's a wonderful global event and even if you can't see it, it's cool that you want to keep track of it.

-- Paul

quaid said...


Not sure myself if I'll join you in 2017 for the next total solar eclipse visible from the continental US ... but I thought I'd see where the optimal spot was in more detail.

This search result on mapper.acme.com, which uses Google Maps with some nice additions including searching by lat/lon, shows the optimal location to be in the middle of a Kentucky state forest. If you do go right there, perhaps viewing from the top of tree would work best?

Location-wise, it appears Bowling Green, KY will get close enough for the naked eye. There are a few towns within a 2+ miles of the total eclipse spot, too, who would be smart to start planning their astrogeek tourism.

- Karsten

The Urban Astronomer said...

Karsten - you are doing some good advance planning. For me, the most important factor is weather (and more specifically, cloud cover) so the challenge for 2017 will be to find the spot on a line from Oregon to South Carolina that has the best likelihood for clear skies in August. Summer conditions across much of the USA are difficult due to thunderstorms in the afternoon, so I am inclined to look west to Wyoming, Idaho or eastern Oregon.

Jay Anderson does the weather forecasting for many eclipses and for the NASA website. He recently created his own website and it is a great resource for this exact task. I met him at two total solar eclipses. He provides a great service for all eclipse chasers! http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~jander/