Of all the solar eclipses of the 20th and 21st centuries, probably the most spectacular is the one on 23 November 2003, although this also shares the dubious distinction of occurring in the most inaccessible location, and hence the one seen by the fewest number of people for many, many years.
The duration of greatest eclipse occurs in the interior of Antarctica, although the path of totality tracks across the continent in an arc between the Russian research station Mirny on the Shackleton Ice Shelf and the Maitri research station in Queen Maud Land.†† ( click here to see picture)
Two factors combine to make the Antarctic eclipse such a sensational
experience. The first concerns the date and time of the eclipse. Occurring as
it does in November, this coincides with summer in the southern hemisphere.
At latitudes of 72 S the continent experiences 3 months of continuous daylight at
this time of year. The eclipse itself occurs around 11pm GMT and so consequently
the skies will go dark for a duration of up to 2 mins before sunlight
returns to allow the midnight sun to be observed (weather conditions
permitting) followed by another 2 months of continuous daylight. The second
factor concerns the atmospheric conditions in this region.† The continent of Antarctica, situated close
to 90 S, is characterised by a region of high pressure, where sinking air
results in clear blue skies, during summer months, which are virtually devoid
of cloud. †
News from the Eclipse Site......The total eclipse in Antarctica in November 2003 was visible, albeit low in the sky at an elevation just above the horizon. The main (only?) land-based group to view the eclipse had set up a viewing area on Dronning Maud Land (Queen Maud Land) in Antarctica. Visibility at the time of totality was good. Click here to see pictures of the Antarctic Total Solar Eclipse, near the Russian base at Novolazarevskaya. (Novo).
Further information can be found, by clicking on the buttons, above left.
The Antarctic Solar Eclipse
Solar Eclipse . Travel Home Page
Further Details Of The Antarctic Trip
Pictures Of Totality
Photo Gallery, from Trip
In general terms, a solar eclipse occurs as a consequence of a combination of the earthís orbit around the sun, and the moonís orbit around the earth. When the sun, moon, and earth line up, the moon casts a shadow on the earthís surface and the sunís light is blocked out in what is known as a solar eclipse. This can only happen at the time of a new moon. However, an eclipse does not occur every month because the orbit of the moon around the earth is not always perfectly aligned with respect to the sun. But when this condition is met, a total eclipse of the sun results.†
Although the moon is smaller than the sun it is also closer, and so when observed from the earth it appears exactly the same size.It is interesting to note that over the course of time, the moon is moving slowly away from the earth and so a time will come when the apparent size of the moonís disk will appear smaller than that of the sun and total solar eclipses will then become a distant memory..
Other solar eclipses.
Details of solar eclipses at other locations around the world until 2010 are listed here