July’s solar eclipse a non-event in North America


There is a total solar eclipse on July 11, 2010, but not in North America.

In fact, no continent will have a great view of total phase. The eclipse stretches across the South Pacific, and totality just barely reaches the southern end of South America as the Sun sets. Maximum eclipse occurs near 120 degrees west longitude and 20 degrees south latitude. As a reference point, Easter Island is almost 1000 miles away to the southeast.

Partial solar eclipses will be visible across much of Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Peru.

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes in front of the Sun, and the shadow cast by the Moon falls on the Earth. This can only happen during the lunar phase of New Moon, which occurs, obviously, on July 11th as well. A total solar eclipse also requires that the Moon’s disk be slightly larger than the Sun’s disk in the sky. This arrangement is unique to the Sun-Earth-Moon system. Even though other planets have more moons than Earth, and there are 4 moons in the solar larger than Earth’s Moon, total solar eclipses cannot occur on any other planet.

The next solar eclipse to come close to Utah will be an annular solar eclipse in May of 2012. The next total solar eclipse in North America will not occur until August of 2017.

4 thoughts on “July’s solar eclipse a non-event in North America

  1. What is the best way and the best place for us to observe the annular solar eclipse to take place tomorrow, May 20, 2012?

  2. I live in Connellsville Pa and just found out about the eclipse. Could you please tell me if it is possible to see it on this side of the States and if so what will be a good time to see it?

  3. Marcy,

    Pennsylvania is too far east to see today’s eclipse. The easternmost location from which any portion of the eclipse can be seen is in the vicinity of western Texas and a few hundred miles north or south.

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