A Total Solar Eclipse of longest duration in 21st century will occur in the morning of Wednesday,July 22, 2009(Asadha 31, 1931 Saka). This eclipse is of special interest for the scientists and general public of India as its path of totality passes through thickly populated regions of west, central, east and
north-east India. Consequently, it provides a rare opportunity to view and study this grand spectacle of nature. The partial phase of the eclipse will be visible throughout the country.
In general, the partial phase can be seen in the regions of eastern Asia and Pacific Ocean. Considering the Earth as a whole, the eclipse begins at 5h 28m 1ST when the shadow of the Moon touches the Earth at local sunrise at a point in the Arabian Sea close to the western coast of India. The eclipse ends at 10h 42m 1ST when Moon’s shadow finally leaves the Earth at local sunset
at a point in the South Pacific Ocean. At approximately 6h 23 m 1ST, the central path of the eclipse will touch the Earth at sunrise at a point in the Gulf of Khmbhat in the Arabian Sea near the southern coast of Gujrat. At this time, the path of totality will be about 200 km wide and the duration of totality at
the central line will be about 3 minute 30 seconds.
The shadow crosses over central India, passes through south-east of Nepal, crosses North Bengal, southern part of Sikkim, most of Bhutan and north-western tip of Bangladesh. Then the shadow enters Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, touches Myanmar and enters China. The umbra sweeps over China , enters East China Sea and then passes through Japan’s Ryukyu Island. The maximum duration of totality of 6 minutes 44 seconds occurs at
8h 05 m 1ST in the North Pacific Ocean where the width of the path is about 258 km. The ‘rest of the path does not pass through major land areas. It curves south-east through Pacific Ocean hitting some small atolls in the Polynesia. The totality ends at 9h 48m 1ST when the umbral cone leaves the Earthat a point in the Pacific Ocean.
The next solar eclipse, which is an Annular Solar Eclipse will occur on 15th January 2010. The path of the said eclipse will pass through extreme southern tips of India.