Solar eclipse of July 11, 2010

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Solar eclipse of July 11, 2010
Eclipse 2010 Hao 1.JPG
Totality from Hao, French Polynesia
Type of eclipse
Maximum eclipse
Duration320 sec (5 m 20 s)
Coordinates19°42′S 121°54′W / 19.7°S 121.9°W / -19.7; -121.9
Max. width of band259 km (161 mi)
Times (UTC)
(P1) Partial begin17:09:41
(U1) Total begin18:15:15
Greatest eclipse19:34:38
(U4) Total end20:51:42
(P4) Partial end21:57:16
Saros146 (27 of 76)
Catalog # (SE5000)9530

The total solar eclipse of July 11, 2010, occurred over the southern Pacific Ocean.[1] 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's, blocking all direct sunlight, turning day into darkness. Totality occurs in a narrow path across Earth's surface, with the partial solar eclipse visible over a surrounding region thousands of kilometres wide.


Animated map of the eclipse's visibility over the southern Pacific Ocean

The eclipse on this day was one of the most remote in recorded history. It was visible over much of the southern Pacific Ocean, touching several atolls in French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Easter Island, and Argentina's Patagonian plains.[2]

Fred Espenak, a NASA astrophysicist, said:

"One of the most unique things about this particular eclipse is that it crosses a unique and interesting archaeological site: Easter Island. On Easter Island there are these great statues... There's a lot of mystery about these statues, but in any case, this is the first total eclipse to hit the island in about 1,400 years."[3]

In French Polynesia, the eclipse was seen with 98 percent totality. During that time, the diamond ring effect and the Baily's beads occurred.

It ended at sunset over the southern tips of Argentina and Chile in South America, including the town of El Calafate. The Sun's altitude was only 1° during the 2 minute 47 second total phase, but Argentino Lake offered an adequate line-of-sight to the eclipse hanging just above the rugged Andes skyline.[1]

A 58% partiality occurred at sunset in Santiago, Chile, but it was not visible due to adverse weather conditions. In other cities such as Valparaíso and Coquimbo, clearer skies permitted the event to be witnessed in continental Chile.


The moon's diameter was over 5% larger than the sun's, represented by the magnitude of eclipse of the table above, making for a relatively long eclipse duration of 5 minutes, 20 seconds.
Time lapse images of the eclipse as seen from Viña del Mar, Chile

Total eclipse began 700 kilometers (430 mi) southeast of Tonga at approximately 18:15 UTC and reached Easter Island by 20:11 UTC.[4] The global sky photography project The World At Night stationed photographers throughout the eclipse's visibility track. Eclipse chasers photographed the event on board a chartered airplane,[5] cruise ships, numerous Pacific islands, and in Argentina's Patagonia region. Totality was observed for four minutes and 41 seconds (4:41) on Easter Island,[2] where it was observed for the first time in 1,400 years.[6] Approximately 4,000 observers visited Easter Island for this eclipse, including tourists, scientists, photographers, filmmakers and journalists,[7] prompting an increase in security at its important moai archeological sites. The eclipse occurred at the same time that the final game of the 2010 FIFA World Cup was being played in South Africa, and many soccer fans in Tahiti watched the match instead of observing the partial eclipse with a high percentage of obscuring the sun by about 98 percent.[4][8] The path of totality of this eclipse barely missed some significant inhabited islands, including passing just about 20 km north of the northern end of Tahiti.[citation needed]

This eclipse was the first one to happen over French Polynesia in 350 years. An estimated 5,000 tourists visited various islands in the archipelago to observe the event. Nearly 120,000 pairs of special glasses were distributed for observers.[9] Eclipse chasers were also able to observe the eclipse at El Calafate, near the southern tip of Argentina, before the sun set just two minutes later.[2]

From Puerto Montt, Chile, 20:44 UTC, near maximum eclipse

Several hours after the eclipse was observed in continental Chile, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck in the Antofagasta Region. There were no major injuries or damage in the nearby cities of Calama, Chile and San Pedro de Atacama.[10]

Related eclipses[edit]

Solar eclipses 2008–2011[edit]

This eclipse is a member of a semester series. An eclipse 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.[11]

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).


  1. ^ a b "Total Solar Eclipse of 2010 July 11". NASA. Archived from the original on March 11, 2008. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Malik, Tariq (July 12, 2010). "Total solar eclipse blots out sun, amazes skywatchers". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  3. ^ "Solar Eclipse to Darken Easter Island Sunday". National Geographic Society. July 8, 2010. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Total solar eclipse crosses South Pacific". BBC News. July 11, 2010. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  5. ^ Grossman, Lisa (July 22, 2010). "Longest Eclipse Ever: Airplane Chases the Moon's Shadow". Wired. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  6. ^ Yang, Yi (July 9, 2010). "Solar Eclipse: First to Hit Easter Island in 1400 Years". The Epoch Times. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  7. ^ Eclipse chasing: four minutes of bliss, Australian Geographic, July 16, 2010
  8. ^ Tee, Gillian (July 10, 2010). "Solar eclipse predicted at same time as World Cup final". CNN. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  9. ^ "French Polynesia awaits first solar eclipse in 350 years". Australia Network. July 10, 2010. Archived from the original on July 13, 2010. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  10. ^ "6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Chile Hours After Solar Eclipse". All Headline News. July 12, 2010. Archived from the original on July 14, 2010. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  11. ^ van Gent, R.H. "Solar- and Lunar-Eclipse Predictions from Antiquity to the Present". A Catalogue of Eclipse Cycles. Utrecht University. Retrieved 6 October 2018.