NASA Solar Eclipse Bulletins

NASA/TP-2007-214149: Total Solar Eclipse of 2008 August 01


This work is the eleventh in a series of NASA publications containing detailed predictions, maps, and meteorological data for future central solar eclipses of interest. Published as part of NASA’s Technical Publication (TP) series, the eclipse bulletins are prepared in cooperation with the Working Group on Eclipses of the International Astronomical Union and are provided as a public service to both the professional and lay communities, including educators and the media. In order to allow a reasonable lead time for planning purposes, eclipse bulletins are published 18 to 24 months before each event.

Single copies of the bulletins are available at no cost by sending a 9 × 12 inch self-addressed stamped envelope with postage for 12 oz. (340 g). Detailed instructions and an order form can be found at the back of this publication.

The 2008 bulletin uses the World Data Bank II (WDBII) mapping database for the path figures. WDBII outline files were digitized from navigational charts to a scale of approximately 1:3,000,000. The database is available through the Global Relief Data CD-ROM from the National Geophysical Data Center. The highest detail eclipse maps are constructed from the Digital Chart of the World (DCW), a digital database of the world developed by the U.S. Defense Mapping Agency (DMA). The primary sources of information for the geographic database are the Operational Navigation Charts (ONC) and the Jet Navigation Charts (JNC). The eclipse path and DCW maps are plotted at a scale of 1:5,000,000 to 1:6,000,000 in order to show roads, cities and villages, and lakes and rivers, making them suitable for eclipse expedition planning. 

The geographic coordinates database includes over 90,000 cities and locations. This permits the identification of many more cities within the umbral path and their subsequent inclusion in the local circumstances tables. Many of these locations are plotted in the path figures when the scale allows. The source of these coordinates is Rand McNally’s The New International Atlas. A subset of these coordinates is available in digital form, which has been augmented with population data.

The bulletins have undergone a great deal of change since their inception in 1993. The expansion of the mapping and geographic coordinates databases have improved the coverage and level of detail. This renders them suitable for the accuracy required by scientific eclipse expeditions. Some of these changes are the direct result of suggestions from the end user. Readers are encouraged to share comments and suggestions on how to improve the content and layout in subsequent editions. Although every effort is made to ensure that the bulletins are as accurate as possible, an error occasionally slips by. We would appreciate your assistance in reporting all errors, regardless of their magnitude.

We thank Dr. B. Ralph Chou for a comprehensive discussion on solar eclipse eye safety (Sect. 3.1). Dr. Chou is Professor of Optometry at the University of Waterloo with over 30 years of eclipse observing experience. As a leading authority on the subject, Dr. Chou’s contribution should help dispel much of the fear and misinformation about safe eclipse viewing.

The eclipse bulletins can be read or downloaded via the World Wide Web from the NASA Eclipse Web Site at

The NASA Eclipse Web Site provides general information on every solar and lunar eclipse occurring during the period 1901 through 2100. An online catalog also lists the date and basic characteristics of every solar and lunar eclipse from 2000 BCE through 3000 CE. The World Atlas of Solar Eclipses provides maps for every central solar eclipse path over the same five-millennium period. The URL of the NASA Eclipse Web Site is

In addition to the synoptic data provided by the Web site above, a special page for the 2008 total solar eclipse has been prepared: It includes supplemental predictions, figures, and maps, which are not included in the present publication.

Because the eclipse bulletins have size limits, they cannot include everything needed by every scientific investigation. Some investigators may require exact contact times, which include lunar limb effects, or times for a specific observing site not listed in the bulletin. Other investigations may need customized predictions for an aerial rendezvous, or near the path limits for grazing eclipse experiments. We would like to assist such investigations by offering to calculate additional predictions for any professionals or large groups of amateurs. Please contact Fred Espenak with complete details and eclipse prediction requirements.

We would like to acknowledge the valued contributions of a number of individuals who were essential to the success of this publication. The format and content of the NASA eclipse bulletins has drawn heavily upon over 40 years of eclipse Circulars published by the U.S. Naval Observatory. We owe a debt of gratitude to past and present staff of that institution who performed this service for so many years. The numerous publications and algorithms of Dr. Jean Meeus have served to inspire a life-long interest in eclipse prediction. Prof. Jay M. Pasachoff reviewed the manuscript and offered many helpful suggestions. Dr. David Dunham and Paul Maley reviewed and updated the information about eclipse contact timings. Internet availability of prior eclipse bulletins is due to the efforts of Dr. Joseph B. Gurman. The support of Environment Canada is acknowledged in the acquisition of the weather data.

Permission is freely granted to reproduce any portion of this publication, including data, figures, maps, tables, and text. All uses and/or publication of this material should be accompanied by an appropriate acknowledgment (e.g., “Reprinted from NASA’s Total Solar Eclipse of 2008 August 01, Espenak and Anderson 2007”). We would appreciate receiving a copy of any publications where this material appears.

The names and spellings of countries, cities, and other geopolitical regions are for identification purposes only. They are not authoritative, nor do they imply any official recognition in status by the United States Government. Corrections to names, geographic coordinates, and elevations are actively solicited in order to update the database for future bulletins. All calculations, diagrams, and opinions are those of the authors and they assume full responsibility for their accuracy.

Fred Espenak
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Planetary Systems Laboratory, Code 693
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Jay Anderson
Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
189 Kingsway Ave.
Winnipeg, MB


Past and Future NASA Solar Eclipse Bulletins

NASA Eclipse Bulletin RP # Publication Date
Annular Solar Eclipse of 1994 May 10 1301 April 1993
Total Solar Eclipse of 1994 November 3 1318 October 1993
Total Solar Eclipse of 1995 October 24 1344 July 1994
Total Solar Eclipse of 1997 March 9 1369 July 1995
Total Solar Eclipse of 1998 February 26 1383 April 1996
Total Solar Eclipse of 1999 August 11 1398 March 1997

NASA Eclipse Bulletin TP # Publication Date
Total Solar Eclipse of 2001 June 21 1999-209484 November 1999
Total Solar Eclipse of 2002 December 04 2001-209990 October 2001
Annular and Total Solar Eclipses of 2003 2002-211618 October 2002
Total Solar Eclipse of 2006 March 29 2004-212762 November 2004
Total Solar Eclipse of 2008 August 01 2007-214149 March 2007
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Total Solar Eclipse of 2009 July 22 2008
Total Solar Eclipse of 2010 July 11 2009

Return to Eclipse Bulletins

2008 Mar 12