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Annular Solar Eclipse: May 10, 2013

Geographic Region: Australia, New Zealand, central Pacific Ocean
[Annular: northern Australia, Solomon Islands, central Pacific Ocean]

The first solar eclipse of 2013 occurs at the Moon's descending node in eastern Ares.  An annular eclipse will be visible from a 171 to 225 kilometer-wide track that traverses Australia, eastern Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and the Gilbert Islands.  A partial eclipse is seen within the much broader path of the Moon's penumbral shadow, which includes Australia, Indonesia, Oceania and much of the central the Pacific Ocean.

The annular path begins in Western Australia near Collier Range National Park at 22:33 UT.  Because the Moon passes through apogee just 3 1/2 days later (May 13 at 13:32 UT), its large distance from Earth produces a wide path of annularity.  Traveling northeast, the shadow quickly sweeps across the Northern Territory where Tennent Creek experiences an annular phase of 3 minutes 4 seconds.  Since the eclipse occurs here shortly after sunrise, the Sun is just 16° above the horizon.  On the central line 70 km to the north, annularity lasts 4 minutes 27 seconds at 22:37 UT.

The antumbral shadow crosses the Gulf of Carpentaria and reaches the Cape York Peninsula at 22:44 UT.  As it does so, it crosses the track of the previous year's total solar eclipse (2012 November 13).  Four minutes later, the shadow departs Australia at Lakefield National Park (22:48 UT).

The next landfall in the eclipse path occurs in eastern Papua New Guinea at 23:00 UT.  The central line crosses Basilaki Island where annularity lasts 4 minutes 59 seconds with the Sun at an altitude of 39°.  Traveling at 0.98 km/s, the antumbra next reaches the Solomons where Choiseul, the largest island in the chain, lies at the center of the track.  Annularity is now 5 minutes 16 seconds and the Sun is 49° above the horizon (23:15 UT). This is the last major landfall in the path.

As the antumbral track curves to the east, it encounters Tarawa atoll in the Gilbert Islands (Republic of Kiribati).  The duration of the annular phase reaches the 6-minute mark here at 00:15 UT.  The annular ring is quite thick because the Moon appears only 95% the diameter of the Sun.

The instant of greatest eclipse occurs at 00:26:20 UT when the eclipse magnitude will reach 0.9544.  At that instant, the duration of annularity is 6 minutes 3 seconds, the path width is 173 kilometers and the Sun is 74° above the flat horizon formed by the open ocean.

The shadow passes just north of Kiribati with no other landfall of any consequence occurring over the remainder of the track.  At 02:20 UT, the antumbral leaves Earth's surface as the annular path ends. 

During the course of its 3/4-hour trajectory, the antumbra's track is approximately 13,300 kilometers long and covers 0.50% of Earth's surface area.  Partial phases of the eclipse are visible primarily from Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia.

This is the 31st eclipse of Saros 138 (Espenak and Meeus, 2006).  The family began with a series of 7 partial eclipses starting on 1472 Jun 06.  The first annular eclipse was on 1616 Sep 11.  After a series of 50 consecutive annular eclipses, Saros 138 will produce one hybrid and three total eclipses before it terminates on 2716 Jul 11 after a final nine partial eclipses.

 

Eclipse map and predictions courtesy of Fred Espenak - NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.
For more information on solar and lunar eclipses, see Fred Espenak's Eclipse Home Page:

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse.html

 

 

 

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