Eye on Pakistan

Partial Solar Eclipse on 22 July 2009

Posted in Culture by onpakistan on June 16, 2009

You heard it here first: a partial solar eclipse will be winding its way through Southern Pakistan soon. So, Pakistanis, make sure you have a look outside on the morning of the 22 July 2009. A NASA animation showing the path of the total eclipse (the black dot) and area of a partial eclipse (the large moving shadow) can be seen here. The diagram below illustrates how the eclipse occurs:

The mechanics of an eclipse

The mechanics of an eclipse

Unfortunately only a partial solar eclipse will be visible from Pakistan. The total eclipse (or rather, the near-total eclipse) will only be visible within the bands shown in the diagram below:

Path of Solar Eclipse

Path of Solar Eclipse

For an interactive map of the eclipse, see this.

In Karachi, the partial eclipse will start at 6:05am and end at 7:49am, but will be at its greatest extent at 6:55am. In Lahore, the partial eclipse will start at 6:07am and end at 7:53am, but will be at its greatest extent at 6:58am. Now as sunrise in Karachi will be at 6:58am, you’re unlikely to see much before then, but this does not mean the event will be uninteresting.  To quote wikipedia:

The phenomenon of atmospheric refraction makes it possible to observe the Sun (and hence a solar eclipse) even when it is slightly below the horizon. It is however possible for a solar eclipse to attain totality (or in the event of a partial eclipse, near-totality) before (visual and actual) sunrise or after sunset from a particular location. When this occurs shortly before the former or after the latter, the sky will appear much darker than it would otherwise be immediately before sunrise or after sunset. On these occasions, an object (especially a planet, often Mercury) may be visible near the sunrise or sunset point of the horizon when it could not have been seen without the eclipse

So, folks, you’re be seeing a rising partially eclipsed sun alongside a bright planet. Remember: try to position yourself high up so that you can see the horizon, and don’t look directly into the sun. For some tips as to how to safely observe solar eclipses, see this and this. For more on the physics behind the eclipse, see this.


2 Responses

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  1. Khan said, on July 20, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Was looking forward to seeing total eclipse in Karachi, but wouldn’t mind partial though. Thanks for the information.

  2. Aiman Amani Karim said, on July 23, 2009 at 12:37 am

    Be thankful, Pakistanis were able to witnesses about 80% to 60% of the eclipse. I could only experience a 13% eclipse since I was currently in Terengganu, Malaysia.

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