Path And Visibility

The path of the Moon's umbral shadow begins in central Iran about 100 kilometers south of Tehran near the city of Oom (Figure 3). As the shadow first contacts Earth along the sunrise terminator (2:52 UT), the path is a scant 16 kilometers wide and the total eclipse barely lasts 16 seconds. During the first seven minutes of central eclipse, the umbra travels to the southeast and quickly sweeps through Afghanistan and Pakistan where it enters northern India at 3:00 UT (Figure 4). Moving with a surface velocity of 2.255 km/s, the shadow's path width has increased to 37 kilometers while the duration of totality has nearly tripled to 44 seconds. The early morning Sun then stands 21 degrees above the eastern horizon. Four minutes later, a partial eclipse maximum of magnitude 0.965 will be seen from New Dehli, which lies 130 kilometers north of the path. The umbra's northern edge narrowly misses the city of Agra, home of one of the world's greatest architectural achievements, the renowned Taj Mahal. From the grounds of this remarkable structure, a partial eclipse with a tantalizing magnitude of 0.997 peaks at 3:05 UT.

Allahabad lies near the path's northern limit where mid-totality occurs at 3:09 UT and lasts a brief 31 seconds. The center line is only twenty kilometers south, where totality is 1 minute 3 seconds. By the time the shadow reaches the Ganges delta (3:20 UT), the path is 55 kilometers wide, the duration of the total eclipse is 1 minute 18 seconds and the Sun has climbed to an altitude of 40 degrees. Calcutta straddles the path's northern limit, where 11 million people could witness a spectacular grazing event.

The umbra leaves India and sweeps across the Bay of Bengal where it reaches the western coast of Myanmar at 3:30 UT (Figure 5). The path's width increases to 61 kilometers and the duration is 1 minute 30 seconds. As it proceeds inland, the shadow passes 100 kilometers north of Yangon, which experiences a 0.975 magnitude eclipse at 3:38 UT. Traveling southeast, the umbra crosses the Thaungyin River and enters Thailand at 3:44 UT. The duration on the center line is then 1 minute 45 seconds, the Sun stands 54degrees and the umbra travels with a speed of 0.73 km/s. The Thai capital of Bangkok lies 140 kilometers to the south of the path and experiences a partial eclipse of magnitude 0.957 at 3:51 UT. The path width and central duration continue to increase modestly as the shadow sweeps across central Cambodia. At 4:00 UT, the center line duration is 1 minute 57 seconds, the path width is 72 kilometers and the Sun's altitude is 62 deg. The ancient ruins of Angkor Wat lie deep in the path and will bear mute witness to the celestial spectacle. Leaving Cambodia at 4:09 UT, the umbra sweeps across southern Viet Nam and passes 100 kilometers north of Ho Chi Minh City, where a partial eclipse of magnitude 0.978 occurs.

Reaching the southeastern coastline of Viet Nam at 4:14 UT, the shadow leaves the mainland and heads out across the South China Sea (Figure 6). The instant of greatest eclipse[6] occurs shortly thereafter at 4:32:29.5 UT. At that point, the length of totality reaches its maximum duration of 2 minutes 10 seconds, the Sun's altitude is 69 deg., the path width is 78 kilometers and the umbra's velocity is 0.564 km/s. The next landfall occurs in Sarawak along the northern coast of Borneo at 04:44 UT. Following the northern coastline, the shadow soon leaves land again. Its southern limit bisects the island of Tawi-Tawi as it crosses the Celebes Sea. The island of Pulau Sangihe is the last significant landfall as the shadow passes 150 kilometers south of Mindanao at approximately 5:15 UT.

The path continues east across the Pacific as its width and duration dwindle. The umbra leaves Earth at sunset at 6:13 UT, where the total phase lasts 20 seconds. Due to the particularly narrow width of this path, less than 0.1% of Earth's surface area falls within the 13,600 kilometer long eclipse track.

[6] The instant of greatest eclipse occurs when the distance between the Moon's shadow axis and Earth's geocenter reaches a minimum. Although greatest eclipse differs slightly from the instants of greatest magnitude and greatest duration (for total eclipses), the differences are usually negligible.

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