Solar eclipse of August 1, 2008

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Solar eclipse of August 1, 2008
Totality showing corona
Type of eclipse
Nature Total
Gamma 0.8307
Magnitude 1.0394
Maximum eclipse
Duration 2m 27s
Coordinates 65.7N 72.3E
Max. width of band 237 km
Times (UTC)
(P1) Partial begin 04:06.8
(U1) Total begin 21:07.3
Greatest eclipse 10:22:12
(U4) Total end 21:28.3
(P4) Partial end 38:27.7
Saros 126 (47 of 72)
Catalog # (SE5000) 9526

A total solar eclipse occurred on August 1, 2008. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the image of the Sun for a viewer on Earth. A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon's apparent diameter is larger than the Sun, blocking all direct sunlight, turning day into darkness. Totality occurs in a narrow path across the surface of the Earth, while a partial solar eclipse will be visible over a region thousands of kilometres wide.

It had a magnitude of 1.0394[1] that was visible from a narrow corridor through northern Canada (Nunavut), Greenland, central Russia, eastern Kazakhstan, western Mongolia and China.[2] Occurring north of the arctic circle, it belonged to the so-called midnight sun eclipses. The largest city on the path of the eclipse was Novosibirsk in Russia.[3]

The total eclipse lasted for 2 minutes, and covered 0.4% of the Earth's surface in a 10,200 km long path. It was the 47th eclipse of the 126th Saros cycle, which began with a partial eclipse on March 10, 1179 and will conclude with a partial eclipse on May 3, 2459.[4]

A partial eclipse could be seen from the much broader path of the Moon's penumbra, including northeastern North America and most of Europe and Asia.[2]

It was described by observers as "special for its colours around the horizon. There were wonderful oranges and reds all around, the clouds lit up, some dark in silhouette, some golden, glowing yellowy-orange in the distance. You could see the shadow approaching against the clouds and then rushing away as it left"[5]

Start of eclipse: Canada, Greenland and Norway[edit]

Animated path

The eclipse began in the far north of Canada in Nunavut at 09:21 UT, the zone of totality being 206 km wide, and lasting for 1 minute 30 seconds. The path of the eclipse then headed north-east, crossing over northern Greenland and reaching the northernmost latitude of 83° 47′ at 09:38 UT before dipping down into Russia.[4]

The path of totality touched the northeast corner of Kvitøya, an uninhabited Norwegian island in the Svalbard archipelago, at 09:47 UT.[citation needed]

Greatest eclipse: Russia[edit]

The eclipse reached the Russian mainland at 10:10 UT,[4] with a path 232 km wide and a duration of 2 minutes 26 seconds.[citation needed] The greatest eclipse occurred shortly after, at 10:21:07 UT at coordinates 65°39′N 72°18′E / 65.650°N 72.300°E / 65.650; 72.300 (close to Nadym), when the path was 237 km wide, and the duration was 2 minutes 27 seconds. Cities in the path of the total eclipse included Megion, Nizhnevartovsk, Strezhevoy, Novosibirsk and Barnaul.[4] Around 10,000 tourists were present in Novosibirsk, the largest city to experience the eclipse.[3]

Conclusion: China[edit]

The path of the eclipse then moved south-east, crossing into Mongolia and just clipping Kazakhstan at around 10:58 UT. The path here was 252 km wide, but the duration was decreased to 2 minutes 10 seconds. The path then ran down the China-Mongolia border, ending in China at 11:18 UT, with an eclipse lasting 1 minute 27 seconds at sunset.[citation needed] The total eclipse finished at 11:21 UT. The total eclipse passed over Yiwu, Juiquan and Xi’an.[4] Around 10,000 people were gathered to watch the eclipse in Yiwu.[3]

Partial eclipse[edit]

A partial eclipse was seen from the much broader path of the Moon's penumbra, including the north east coast of North America and most of Europe and Asia.[2] In London, England, the partial eclipse began at 08:33 GMT, with a maximum eclipse of 12% at 09:18 GMT, before concluding at 10:05 GMT. At Edinburgh the partial eclipse was 23.5% of the sun, whilst it was 36% in Lerwick in the Shetland Isles.[6]

LTU 1111[edit]

German charter airline LTU, now trading as Air Berlin, operated a special flight from Düsseldorf to the North Pole to observe the eclipse. Flight number LT 1111 spent over 11 hours in the air, returning to base at 6pm after flying a planeload of eclipse chasers, scientists, journalists and TV crews to watch the celestial event. The route also included a low-level sightseeing tour of Svalbard before the eclipse and the magnetic pole afterwards.

Related eclipses[edit]

Solar eclipses 2008-2011[edit]

Each member in a semester series of solar eclipses repeats approximately every 177 days and 4 hours (a semester) at alternating nodes of the Moon's orbit.

Solar eclipse series sets from 2008–2011
Ascending node   Descending node
Saros Map Saros Map
Solar eclipse 2008Feb07-New Zealand-partial-Greg Hewgill.jpg
Partial from New Zealand
2008 February 7
Total from Novosibirsk, Russia
2008 August 1
Solar eclipse of January 26, 2009 by Jefferson Teng.jpg
Bandar Lampung, Indonesia
2009 January 26
Solar eclipse 22 July 2009 taken by Lutfar Rahman Nirjhar from Bangladesh.jpg
Total from Bangladesh
2009 July 22
(closeup) Solar annular eclipse of January 15, 2010 in Bangui, Central African Republic.JPG
Bangui, Central African Republic
2010 January 15
Eclipse 2010 Hao 1.JPG
Total from French Polynesia
2010 July 11
Solar eclipse Vienna 2011-1-4 a.jpg
Partial from Austra
2011 January 4
Partial (north)
156 2011 July 1
Partial (south)
Partial solar eclipses on June 1, 2011, and November 25, 2011, occur on the next lunar year eclipse set.

Saros 126[edit]

It is a part of Saros cycle 126, repeating every 18 years, 11 days, containing 71 events. The series started with partial solar eclipse on March 10, 1179. It contains annular eclipses from June 4, 1323 through April 4, 1810 and hybrid eclipses from April 14, 1828 through May 6, 1864. It contains total eclipses from May 17, 1882 through August 23, 2044. The series ends at member 72 as a partial eclipse on May 3, 2459. The longest duration of central eclipse (annular or total) was 5 minutes, 46 seconds of annularity on November 22, 1593. The longest duration of totality was 2 minutes, 36 seconds on July 10, 1972.[7]

Series members 39-49 occur between 1901 and 2100:

39 40 41
June 8, 1918
June 19, 1936
June 30, 1954
42 43 44
July 10, 1972
July 22, 1990
August 1, 2008
45 46 47
August 12, 2026
August 23, 2044
September 3, 2062
48 49
September 13, 2080
September 25, 2098

Metonic series[edit]

The metonic series repeats eclipses every 19 years (6939.69 days), lasting about 5 cycles. Eclipses occur in nearly the same calendar date. In addition the octon subseries repeats 1/5 of that or every 3.8 years (1387.94 days).

This series has 21 eclipse events between May 21, 1993 and May 20, 2069.

May 20-21 March 9 December 25-26 October 13-14 August 1-2
118 120 122 124 126
May 21, 1993
March 9, 1997
December 25, 2000
October 14, 2004
August 1, 2008
128 130 132 134 136
May 20, 2012
March 9, 2016
December 26, 2019
October 14, 2023
August 2, 2027
138 140 142 144 146
May 21, 2031
March 9, 2035
December 26, 2038
October 14, 2042
August 2, 2046
148 150 152 154 156
May 20, 2050
March 9, 2054
December 26, 2057
October 13, 2061
August 2, 2065
May 20, 2069


  1. ^ Espenak, Fred; Jay Anderson (July 2004). "Total Solar Eclipse of 2008 August 01 - Parameters". NASA. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  2. ^ a b c "Total Solar Eclipse of 2008 August 01". NASA. July 23, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  3. ^ a b c "Total eclipse a dark show for thousands". Herald Sun. August 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Espenak, Fred; Jay Anderson (March 2007). Total Eclipse of 2008 August 01 - NASA Technical Bulletin 2007–214149. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  5. ^ Dr John Mason describing the ecliipse directly after observing it
  6. ^ Royal Astronomical Society (July 31, 2008). "Solar Eclipse On The Morning Of August 1st". ScienceDaily. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  7. ^ Solar_Saros_series_126, accessed October 2010