This image above shows one orbital swath from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite. The yellow line shows the path of the total eclipse, while the map provides context for the location relative to central Africa. VIIRS captured this image at 13:25 Universal Time (1:25 p.m. local time) on November 3, 2013, about 38 minutes after the maximum eclipse.
The darkened area is a combination of the umbra (full) and antumbra (partial) shadow of the Moon on Earth’s surface. Skywatchers within the umbra observed a total eclipse that lasted as long as 99 seconds at maximum eclipse, which occurred at 12:47 Universal Time.
Fred Espenak, an eclipse expert at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, described the blend of a partial and total eclipse. “The duality comes about when the vertex of the Moon's umbral shadow pierces Earth’s surface at some locations, but falls short of the planet along other sections of the path. The unusual geometry is due to the curvature of Earth’s surface that brings some geographic locations into the umbra while other positions are more distant and enter the antumbral rather than umbral shadow.”
The 2013 event was even more unusual because the eclipse shifted from partial (annular) to total and then ended. Hybrid eclipses typically start as annular, become total, and then finish as annular. The last hybrid eclipse occurred on November 20, 1854, and the next one will not occur until October 17, 2172, according to Sky & Telescope magazine. Click here for a map of the eclipse path.
- Astronomy Picture of the Day (2013, November 3) A Rare Hybrid Solar Eclipse. Accessed November 4, 2013.
- NASA Eclipse Web Page (2013) Eclipses During 2013. Accessed November 4, 2013.
- Sky & Telescope (2013, November 4) November's Hybrid Eclipse: First Reports. Accessed November 4, 2013.
- Universe Today (2013, November 4) Hybrid Solar Eclipse Images from Around the World. Accessed November 4, 2013.
- Suomi NP
NASA: Hybrid Eclipse Shades Africa - 11.05.13
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