"Hybrid" Solar Eclipse at Sunrise Along the East Coast of the US

10/22/2013 6:56:53 AM

We certainly have had our fair share of astronomy events recently and the biggest event is right around the corner!!

NASA map of the upcoming solar eclipse

This is the most interesting eclipse of the year. It is a rare hybrid eclipse in which some sections of the path are annular (where the Moon does not completely block out the Sun) while other parts are total. This is due to the Moon's umbral shadow piercing the Earth's surface at some locations, but falls short of the planet along other sections of the path. This unusual setup is due to the curvature of Earth's surface. This eclipse is even more unique because the central path begins annular and ends total. Because hybrid eclipses occur near the vertex of the Moon's umbral/antumbral shadows, the central path is quite narrow.

This eclipse is visible from within a thin corridor, including the North Atlantic and equatorial Africa. A partial eclipse is seen within the much broader path of the Moon's penumbral shadow, which includes eastern North America, northern South America, southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The date for this event is Nov. 3.

The eclipse will begin in the North Atlantic about 1,000 km east of Jacksonville, Fla., as a four-second annular eclipse visible at sunrise. As the shadow races forward to the east, the narrow annular path rapidly shrinks to zero and the eclipse becomes total over a very small track. This all transpires within the first 15 seconds of the shadow's trajectory. For the remainder of the eclipse, a small path will remain total.

Very interesting map for the East Coast from eclipse-maps.com Please check out this fantastic site for a variety of eclipse maps for this and other events.

Please check out this video of the path of totality as it heads easterly into Africa also from eclipse-maps.com by clicking here. Very cool!

As the shadow travels over the Atlantic, just missing the island nation of Sao Tome and Principe off the coast of Africa, it will then cross the coast of Gabon north of Port-Gentil in the Wonga Wongue Reserve.

From here, the track begins curving to the northeast as it narrows and the duration of the total eclipse decreases.

In its final two and a half minutes, the lunar shadow races across southern Ethiopia before leaving Earth's surface in Somalia where a one-second total eclipse occurs at sunset.

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Here is yet another fantastic image from eclipse-maps.com

Just another great example of the spectacular maps that are available from this site.

Even better, I will be seeing this event on the Outer Banks of North Carolina with the East Coast Star Party so I will be sharing a ton of pictures!!