[Total Solar Eclipse: 2015]
The 2001 Eclipse:
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The Total Solar Eclipse of 21 June 2001. The dark blue region is the Path of Totality (also known as the Umbra).
The umbra shadow travels from west to east (left to right on the map). At the point of Greatest Eclipse, totality is at local midday. The duration of totality at greatest eclipse is 4 minutes 56 seconds. This occurs in the Atlantic Ocean. On either side of that point, the duration is less. To the West of greatest eclipse the eclipse will be total before local noon; East of it, totality will be seen after local noon. The umbra is widest around the time of greatest eclipse as the Earth is bulging out towards the Moon in that region.
The area on either side of the path of totality (in pale blue) will provide a partial eclipse, the magnitude decreasing with distance from the path of totality. Beyond that region, no eclipse is visible. The Sub-solar Point is the location where the Sun is overhead at the time of greatest eclipse. The Sun is overhead well North of the equator in June. The parts in red are the regions where the eclipse occurs during sunrise (left) or sunset (right).
The ellipses and circles are the positions of the umbra at 10 minute intervals. The umbra becomes more circular near the region of greatest eclipse as the angle between the surface of the Earth and the umbra becomes more perpendicular.
The path of totality begins in the Atlantic Ocean (off the coast of Brazil), crosses southern Africa, Madagascar, ending in the Indian Ocean. The umbra takes 2 hours 51 minutes to traverse its entire path.
The Path of Totality is the dark band, moving across Africa from left to right. The point of Greatest Eclipse is marked by the black Sun on the left.
In this part of the path the eclipse occurs after local noon. The path travels across Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. It takes about 40 minutes for the umbra to cross Africa.
The umbra becomes less circular from left to right as the angle between the surface of the Earth and the umbra becomes less perpendicular. The Path of Totality becomes less wide as we move from left to right because the Earth is curving away from the Moon.
The dark band is the Path of Totality and the middle blue line is the Centre Line. The maximum duration of totality is found along the centre line.
The jagged line moving across the map from left to right then down is the border between Zimbabwe (lower left) and Mozambique (upper and right).
We were based in the capital Harare but moved towards the Centre Line via Mount Darwin on eclipse day.
The shape of the Umbra was an elongated ellipse 311km long by 114km wide.
The eclipse site was on the Centre Line of the Umbra by one of the rivers to the North East of the settlement of Mount Darwin.
The eclipse site (marked with a yellow X) was by the Ruya River at Maname less than 3km from the Centre Line (blue) and about 10km from the border with Mozambique.
|Date||21 June 2001|
|Location||Ruya River, Maname, Zimbabwe|
|Latitude||16° 30' 59.3" S|
|Longitude||31° 56' 51.8" E|
|Distance from Centre Line||2.5 km|
|1st Contact (UT + 2)||13:51|
|Path Width||163 km|
|Major Axis||311 km|
|Minor Axis||145 km|
|Umbral Velocity||1.4 km/s|
|Position Angle of 2nd Contact||93°|
|Position Angle of 3rd Contact||273°|
|Saros Details||127 (57 / 82)|
The Location, Latitude, Longitude and Altitude (in metres) are for the observation site. The latter three figures were measured on a GPS and obtained from a fellow observer.
The Distance from Centre Line was estimated using a map with the path of totality plotted from Fred Espenak data.
First Contact is the beginning of the eclipse when the first "bite" appears on the Sun's disk; it is the beginning of the partial phase. Second Contact is the beginning of totality. Third Contact is the end of totality. Fourth Contact is the end of the partial eclipse. The times are in local time which, for this eclipse, is UT + 2 (GMT plus two hours).
The Duration of the eclipse at the observation site was 3 minutes 20 seconds.
The Path Width is the width of the path of totality. The umbra itself is elliptical in shape. The Major Axis is the longest axis of the umbra; the Minor Axis is the shorter axis. The umbra at the observation site was 311km long and 145km wide. This could be observed as a brighter horizon along the Minor Axis. The path width was 163km, a reasonably large figure that produced a dark eclipse.
The Umbral Velocity is the speed of the Moon's shadow, 1.4 kilometres per second. This and its width determined the duration of the total eclipse.
The Sun's Altitude is measured from the horizon; the Azimuth is the direction of the Sun measured clockwise from North. The figures are for mid-eclipse.
The Position Angles indicate the exact position of the Sun's disk where the Moon covers and uncovers the Sun at the beginning and end of totality.
Gamma determines how the Moon's shadow, if extended, would pass through the Earth. A Gamma of zero implies that the shadow would pass through the exact centre of the Earth. A Gamma of greater than 1 misses the Earth and no total eclipse would occur. A positive Gamma passes North of the Earth's centre; a negative Gamma passes South of the Earth's centre.
The value of Gamma for this eclipse is -0.57014. This means that the shadow passes South of the Earth's centre, about half of the way to the edge of the Earth. This, combined with the fact that in June, the Southern Hemisphere is tilted away the Sun, produces an eclipse in the Southern Tropical Zone.
The Diameter Ratio determines how much bigger the Moon's apparent radius is than the Sun's. In this case, the Moon's radius is 1.0436 that of the Sun's. A total eclipse can only occur if this figure is greater than 1. The Moon would then appear larger than the Sun and could cover it completely. If this figure was less than one a total eclipse could not occur because the Moon would appear smaller than the Sun.
The Obscuration determines how much larger the Moon's apparent area is than the Sun's.
The Saros is a collection of eclipses belonging to a series. Each member of the series is followed by a similar eclipse approximately 18 years, 11 days and 8 hours later. This eclipse is a member of Saros number 127. It is the 57th eclipse out of a total of 82 in the series. The 82 eclipses are made up of 40 partial and 42 total eclipses.
The previous eclipse of this series occured on 11 June 1983 and was the first total eclipse seen by Kryss (in Indonesia).
Saros 127 is unusually long lasting for 1460 years. It began on 10 October 991 with a small partial eclipse (3%) near the North Pole and will end on 21 March 2452 with another small partial eclipse (3%) in the southern polar regions.
Between 14 May 1352 and 15 August 2091, the 42 eclipses of Saros 127 are total. The duration of these 42 total eclipses increased from 2m 18s to 5m 40s on 30 August 1532, then decreased to to 4m 06s (30 January 1767) before increasing again to 5m 15s on 30 May 1965. The final total eclipse of the series will have a duration of 1m 38s.
At any one time dozens of Saros series are in progress. Other eclipses will belong to different series.