Even if you live in the U.S. and Canada, you can experience the first partial solar eclipse online
The first of four solar eclipse events begins in just a few hours, shadowing Algeria and Western Europe.
Although the partial eclipse will not be visible in the United States, astronomy buffs might want to check out uStream or JustinTV to see if any live stream broadcasts are available. Unfortunately, official space agencies do not appear to be broadcasting the event.
However, you can opt to experience the eclipse on the ground, so to speak. Log on to some live city web cam websites and experience the eclipse vicariously. Our personal favorite is in Amsterdam, which features a live stream with sound. OpenTopia features live webcams from around the world and of course, you can always Google live webcams.
What happens in a partial solar eclipse is that the sun, moon and earth are aligned, with the moon in the middle. From the point of view of the earth, the moon does not completely overlap the sun. The penumbra — a Latin word — is the portion of a shadow resulting from the source of illumination being only partially blocked. The partial solar eclipse, where the penumbra will touch, covers Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. Here is a simulation:
The Eclipse begins at approximately 6:40 UT which translates to the following:
- EASTERN: 1:40 A.M. (01/04/2011).
- CENTRAL: 12:40 A.M. (01/04/2011).
- MOUNTAIN (and Arizona): 11:40 P.M. (01/03/2011).
- PACIFIC: 10:40 P.M. (01/03/2011).
The greatest eclipse will occur at about 8:50 UT and will be most visible in northern Sweden. This translates to:
- EASTERN: 3:50 A.M. (01/04/2011).
- CENTRAL: 02:50 A.M. (01/04/2011).
- MOUNTAIN (and Arizona): 01:50 A.M. (01/04/2011).
- PACIFIC: 12:50 A.M. (01/04/2011).
The event ends at 11:00 UT, which is:
- EASTERN: 6:00 A.M. (01/04/2011).
- CENTRAL: 5:00 A.M. (01/04/2011).
- MOUNTAIN (and Arizona): 4:00 A.M. (01/04/2011).
- PACIFIC: 3:00 A.M. (01/04/2011).
In case you miss today's partial solar eclipse, the next event will occur on June 1, 2011 … after Jesus returns and the world is in the throes of a horrible end times cleansing if you believe Harold Camping's predictions. As author Dakota O'Leary pointed out, eclipses were at one time viewed with superstition and thought to be omens for apocalyptic events. 2011 provides plenty of fodder for eclipse-like prophesies, with four partial solar eclipses and two total lunar eclipses.