A total eclipse of the Sun, noted by NASA for having an exceptionally long duration, will take place on Wednesday 22nd July 2009, visible from within a narrow corridor that traverses the Eastern Hemisphere. Over the course of 3 h 25 min, the umbra (the darkest part of the Moon’s shadow) travels along a track approximately 15,150 km long that covers 0.71% of Earth’s surface area.
The total phase of the eclipse will begin in India’s Gulf of Khambhat -Bay of Cambay at 23:58 UT (Sunrise locally), speed over the Indian sub continent and China within an hour to reach Japan, next on across the Pacific Ocean to reach Kiribati at 03:53 UT (17:53 local time).
The path of totality varies in width from 205 km to 258 km. Along the central line of the path, totality lasts for up to 3 minutes 44 seconds in India, up to 5 minutes 51 seconds in China, and up to 6 minutes 34 seconds on the Japan’s Ryukyu Islands.
The sight of a partial eclipse will be enjoyed in varying degrees from most of Central and East Asia.
If you are directly on the path of totality you will first experience the initial partial phase of the eclipse (penumbra – part shadow) for up to an hour and a quarter, then the total phase (umbra – total shadow) for up to 6.5 minutes (depending where you are) then a final partial phase (penumbra) for up to a further hour and a quarter. If your location is not within the path of totality you will experience an extended partial eclipse of up to two and a half hours.
Whether you witness just a partial eclipse or the complete partial-total-partial ‘sandwich’, you will still need an eclipse viewer throughout the event to safely and conveniently view the sun directly - except during the very few minutes of totality.