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Press Release

Partial Solar Eclipse: July 30/31, 2000

Fred Espenak, NASA/GSFC

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An eclipse of the Sun can only take place at New Moon, and only if the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth. Under these circumstances, the Moon's shadow sweeps across a portion of Earth's surface and an eclipse of the Sun is seen from that region. The Moon's shadow is actually composed of two cone-shaped parts, one nested inside the other. The outer or penumbral shadow is a zone where the Moon blocks some (but not all) of the Sun's light. In contrast, the inner or umbral shadow is a region where the Moon blocks all direct sunlight from reaching a small portion of Earth.

A partial eclipse occurs if the Moon's penumbral shadow falls upon some part of Earth's surface. If the Moon's umbral shadow also touches Earth, then a total eclipse of the Sun is seen from that geographic region. For more information on the what, why, how, when and where of solar eclipses, see the special web site solar eclipses for beginners.

On Sunday, July 30, 2000, a partial eclipse of the Sun will be visible from western North America. On the western side of the International Date Line, the eclipse is visible from northern Asia and Scandinavia on Monday, July 31. A global map of Earth shows the exact region of eclipse visibility. A unique animation shows the motion of the Moon's shadow across Earth's surface during the eclipse (courtesy of Dr. Andrew Sinclair).

During the maximum phase about 60% of the Sun's diameter will be covered by the Moon. Unfortunately, this takes place in northern Greenland and Canada. More populated locations in North America will see a smaller fraction of the Sun's face covered by the Moon.

In the contiguous United States, the eclipse will only be visible from the northwestern states including northern California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Northwestern Wyoming, Utah and North Dakota will also see the eclipse. The Moon will take a 15% to 35% "bite" of out of the Sun's disk, depending on your location. The further north you are, the larger the "bite". Of special interest is the fact that observers in the afore-mentioned states will be able to see the Sun setting in partial eclipse! This is a picturesque opportunity for photographers, but extreme care must be taken when viewing the Sun (see: Eclipses & Eye Safety). Never look directly at the Sun with the naked eye or through any optical device (e.g. - camera, binoculars or telescope). Use an approved solar filter designed specifically for Sun viewing or use a home-made projection box.

Alaska will see the eclipse during the mid-afternoon rather than at sunset. Here, 20% to 40% of the Sun's diameter will be eclipsed with the fraction increasing as one travels across the state from the southwest to the northeast. The eclipse is also visible from the western Canadian provinces including Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Colombia, Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest Territories. A special map of northwestern North America shows the region of eclipse visibility and plots eclipse magnitude curves for different geographic locations. Eclipse magnitude is simply the percent of the Sun's diameter covered by the Moon. Times on the map are in Universal Time (UT) which is equal to Greenwich Mean Time.

Eclipse times for a number of cities are given in Table 3 from the Observer's Handbook 2000 article Eclipses During 2000. All times are in Universal Time. Sun's altitude and azimuth, the eclipse magnitude and obscuration are all given at the instant of maximum eclipse.

Partial Eclipse From Your City!

So what will the eclipse look like and when does it begin and end? That all depends on your city or geographic location. You can see a graphic preview for a number of cities by visiting Partial Eclipse From Your City! For each city, you will see a figure illustrating the eclipse's appearance at maximum eclipse. The eclipse magnitude and obscuration are also given. A brief table lists the times the eclipse begins, reaches maximum and ends. The Sun's altitude and azimuth are given at each of these stages. All the predicted times have been converted to Local Standard Time. Just remember to add one hour to all times if your state/province observes Daylight Savings Time.

If July's partial eclipse of the Sun is not visible from your part of North America, do not despair! The last solar eclipse of the Second Millennium will be visible from most of the continent on Christmas day December 25, 2000. A special web page devoted to this eclipse will appear later in the year. Check for details.

1994 Total Solar Eclipse

Phases of the total solar eclipse 1994 Nov 03. Courtesy of

An eclipse of the Sun presents a tempting target to photograph. Fortunately, solar eclipse photography is easy provided that you have the right equipment and use it correctly. For examples of photographs taken during previous solar eclipses, please visit the Solar Eclipse Gallery. Please remembr that you should never look directly at the Sun without practicing safe eclipse viewing techniques!

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Eclipse Frequency and Future Eclipses

During the five millennium period from 2000BC through 3000 AD, there are 11,897 eclipses of the Sun (including partial, annular and total). Slightly more than one third of these are partial eclipses, on third are annular eclipses and just over one quarter are total eclipses.

There are at least two solar eclipses every year although they may both be partial eclipses. On exrtremely rare occassions, there can be as many as five solar eclipses in one calendar year (e.g. - 1936 and 2207).

The table below lists every solar eclipse from 2000 through 2002. Click on the eclipse Date to see a map of an eclipse. Click on the Region of Eclipse Visibility to see a detailed description of an eclipse.

The Eclipse Magnitude is the fraction on the Sun's diameter obscurred at maximum eclipse. For values greater than 1.0, it is a total eclipse. For values less than 1.0, it is either a partial or annular eclipse. The Center Duration is the duration of either the total or annular phase (if any).

Geographic Region of
Eclipse Visibility
2000 Feb 5 Partial 0.579 - Antarctica
2000 Jul 01 Partial 0.477 - S Pacific Ocean, s South America
2000 Jul 31 Partial 0.603 - n Asia, nw North America
2000 Dec 25 Partial 0.723 - North & Central America
2001 Jun 21 Total 1.050 04m57s e S. America, Africa
[Total: s Atlantic, s Africa, Madagascar]
2001 Dec 14 Annular 0.968 03m53s N. & C. America, nw S. America
[Annular: c Pacific, Costa Rica]
2002 Jun 10 Annular 0.996 00m23s e Asia, Australia, w N. America
[Annular: n Pacific, w Mexico]
2002 Dec 04 Total 1.024 02m04s s Africa, Antarctica, Indonesia, Australia
[Total: s Africa, s Indian, s Australia]

Geographic abreviations: n = north, s = south, e = east, w = west, c = central

Live Web Coverage of the Eclipse

We will list links for live web coverage of the eclipse as they become available.

Web Resources


All eclipse calculations are by Fred Espenak, and he assumes full responsibility for their accuracy. Some of the information presented in this catalog is based on data originally published in Fifty Year Canon of Solar Eclipses: 1986 - 2035.

Permission is freely granted to reproduce this data when accompanied by the following acknowledgment:

"Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA/GSFC"

Special thanks to Summer Intern Megan O'Grady for her valuable assistance in preparing this web page.

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Last revised: 2004 Jul 28 - F. Espenak