10 years ago today was the longest total solar eclipse of the century. Here’s everything you need to know to catch another one.
What are you doing in 8 years and 11 days? How does a trip to the Valley of the Kings in Egypt sound?
It’s 10 years since the ‘eclipse of the century’. On July 22, 2009 there was a super-long total solar eclipse, and though many were clouded-out, many in eastern China, Pakistan, Japan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh did see it. Totality lasted a maximum of 6 minutes and 39 seconds off the coast of Southeast Asia.
It was the longest total solar eclipse during the 21st century, but when is the next super-long totality? The 2009 eclipse was a member of Solar Saros 136, a family of moon shadows that repeats every 18 years, 11 days and 8 hours. That’s how eclipses are predicted.
The next ‘big one’?
That’s on August 2, 2027, and will last 6 minutes and 23 seconds close to Thebes in Luxor, Egypt. That’s where many eclipse-chasers will head to, but there are many other locations where you can see a slightly shorter totality, from the Star Wars set of Tatooine in Tunisia to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, Islam’s holiest city. You can read all that eclipse on Jamie’s Forbes column here:
After 2027, the next longest – also a member of Solar Saros 136 – is a 6 minutes 6 seconds totality, known as the ‘Greatest American Eclipse’. Jamie has also written a big article on that eclipse on Forbes, which you can read here”
Solar Saros 136 will also issue long totalities on August 24, 2063 (across China, Japan and the Pacific Ocean), September 3, 2081 (the UK’s next totality, though the maximum totality is off the coast of Abu Dhabi) and on September 14, 2099 (across North America, but maxing-out off Antigua in the Caribbean).
Solar Saros 136 will by then be on the wane, with each totality getting shorter. The next longest totality after 2009 will occur on June 13, 2132, when a 6 minutes 55 seconds totality will again grace the Caribbean.
The 2132 eclipse will be part of Solar Saros 139, which will max-out 54 years later to produce the longest totality of the third Millennium on 16 July, 2186 when eclipse-chasers in boats just off Guyana, South America will experience totality lasting 7 minutes and 4 seconds.
In July 16, 2186, off Guyana, totality will last an unsurpassable 7 minutes and 4 seconds.
Main pic credit: Specialcreateru (taken from Hangzhou, China)