Total Eclipse Of The Sun Expected In March
By Michael Hanna
A total solar eclipse, one of the earth's most unique phenomena is when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, its shadow hitting the Earth and blocking out the Sun. If you're lucky enough to be in the path taken by the centre of that shadow, the Moon will align itself exactly with the sun, blocking it entirely and you'll see a total eclipse.
Outside of the path of totality, although a staggering 95% of the Sun is still obscured, the effect of the eclipse is not nearly so vivid - just a quiet, still, evening dusk-like effect. These were the conditions most of us experienced during our 'once in a lifetime' eclipse over the UK mainland on 11 August 1999, with the next not now forecast until 2090.
Huge cosmic coincidence is at work during a total eclipse; the Moon is 400 times smaller than the Sun and the Sun is 400 times further from the Earth so, quite extraordinarily, from our viewpoint here on Earth the size of these two celestial objects appears to be exactly the same.
Whilst this coincidence is in the hands of greater forces than us, getting ourselves into the right place at the right time is not. These days it is easily within our power to move swiftly around the planet.
There are some qualifications here. Total eclipses roll by every 18 months or so but nature throws out a much higher chance of incidence over inhospitable terrain, the most probable venues being vast tracts of ocean or barren icy wastes. Also whilst the Moon casts a huge shadow over the face of the Earth sometimes as wide as 10,000 miles, the central umbral cone is only a fraction of this, sometimes as narrow as 100 miles or so.
But here's the good news because the next total solar eclipse is nearly upon us, due on 29 March 2006. And, as the Moon's shadow sweeps across Africa and the Mediterranean at 1,500 to 2,000 miles per hour, the umbral cone will cross an area favoured by many of us in our annual quest for a quick week away in guaranteed sunshine.
The Turkish Mediterranean coast already caters to thousands of holiday sun seekers: with plenty of hotels, and a strong chance of cloudless skies, places such as Dalaman are just around a 4 hour flight away from the UK, with airlines such as XL offering cheap flights (http://www.xl.com/champion/cheap-flights-to-dalaman.asp).
And once you're in Turkey you can take to the sea and celebrate the event with a gulet flotilla holiday or if you want to mark the more cosmic significance of the day there's a trance festival where eclipsaholics can chill together: have a look at soulclipse (http://www.soulclipse.com) for more details.
So are you ready for another bite at your once in a lifetime opportunity?
Oh...and don't forget your sun glasses!
About The Author
Michael Hanna is a keen writer, and internet marketer living in Scotland:
Phone: 0131 561 2251
Michael's Website: http://www.gransha-taxi.co.uk