News & Current Affairs

July 21, 2009

Asia set for total solar eclipse

Asia set for total solar eclipse

Total solar eclipse photographed in Egypt, 2006 (Darren Baskill)

Stargazers will travel long distances to see the eclipse

Millions of people in Asia will see the longest total solar eclipse this century on Wednesday as swaths of India and China are plunged into darkness.

Scores of amateur stargazers and scientists will travel long distances for the eclipse, which will last for about five minutes.

The eclipse will first appear in the Gulf of Khambhat just north of Mumbai.

It will move east across India, Nepal, Burma, Bangladesh, Bhutan and China before hitting the Pacific.

The eclipse will cross some southern Japanese islands and will last be visible from land at Nikumaroro Island in the South Pacific nation of Kiribati.

Elsewhere, a partial eclipse will be visible across much of Asia.

The previous total eclipse, in August 2008, lasted two minutes and 27 seconds. This one will last six minutes and 39 seconds at its maximum point.

Alphonse Sterling, a Nasa astrophysicist who will be following the eclipse from China, scientists are hoping data from the eclipse will help explain solar flares and other structures of the sun and why they erupt.

“We’ll have to wait a few hundred years for another opportunity to observe a solar eclipse that lasts this long, so it’s a very special opportunity,” Shao Zhenyi, an astronomer at the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory in China told the Associated Press news agency.

Solar scientist Lucie Green, from University College London, is aboard an American cruise ship heading for that point near the Japanese island of Iwo Jima, where the axis of the Moon’s shadow will pass closest to Earth.

“The [Sun’s] corona has a temperature of 2 million degrees but we don’t know why it is so hot,” she said.

“What we are going to look for are waves in the corona. … The waves might be producing the energy that heats the corona. That would mean we understand another piece of the science of the Sun.”

The next total solar eclipse will occur on 11 July next year. It will be visible in a narrow corridor over the southern hemisphere, from the southern Pacific Ocean to Argentina.

TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE
Infographic (BBC)
In the area covered by the umbra (the darkest part of the shadow), a total eclipse is seen
In the region covered by the penumbra (where only some of the light source is obscured) a partial eclipse is seen

solar

January 9, 2009

Costa Rica earthquake kills two

Filed under: Latest, Politics News — Tags: , , , , , — expressyoureself @ 7:27 am

Costa Rica earthquake kills two

A strong earthquake that struck Costa Rica on Thursday killed at least two people, officials say.

Two sisters were buried in a landslide triggered by the magnitude 6.1 tremor, centred some 35km (22 miles) north-west of the capital San Jose.

Reports say the quake – which hit at 1321 (1921 GMT) – left several people injured in villages north of San Jose.

The earthquake cut off electricity in parts of the capital and officials reported damage to roads and houses.

American Dan Whitlock said the earthquake was so strong that guests stumbled as they ran out of the hotel he was staying in.

“I was outside and all of a sudden I could see the whole building shaking,” Reuters news agency quoted him as saying. “You could see the pool water moving like a tsunami.”

Costa Rica is located on the Pacific Ring, which forms a belt of seismic activity along the edge of the Pacific Ocean.

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