• International Insurance Blog

  • Sunday, March 18, 2018

  • Longest solar eclipse of the century

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    Author: Blog Contributor

Few phenomena have so inspired and humbled humans throughout the ages as a total solar eclipse. Standing under the shadow of the moon as it races across the face of the Earth at a typical speed of about 1700 km/hr is a rare opportunity and one that is inexpressibly spectacular. The Moon’s dark shadow plunges you into an eerie twilight and the Sun’s mysterious and incredibly beautiful corona is revealed.

The longest solar eclipse of this century turned the sky over parts of Asia dark for more than six minutes earlier today. The eclipse moved eastward from India to Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Japan, Indonesia, and Marshall Islands. At its peak over the Pacific, the total phase of the eclipse lasted 6 minutes and 39 seconds. That made it the longest-lasting total eclipse since July 11, 1991, when a stretch of totality lasting 6 minutes and 53 seconds was visible from Hawaii to South America. There will not be a longer total eclipse than todays until 2132.

The business opportunity in Eclipse was clear when one travel agency in India scheduled a charter flight to watch the eclipse by air, with seats facing the sun selling at a premium. Eclipse mania also gripped China.  In Beijing, enthusiasts rushed to buy solar filters to watch the partial eclipse safely. Tourists and scientists flocked to the best viewing spots from across the globe for the 6minute spectacle of darkness.

But in many countries eclipses have traditionally been seen as bad omens. An an astrologer in Burma has predicted the event will trigger wars, instability and natural disasters, while in India some families advised pregnant women to stay indoors in curtained rooms lest the sun’s invisible rays harm the foetus and, more prosaically, told police to prepare for potential problems such as road accidents.

Comment by Blog Contributor on 2009 08 06

The “end signs” have been predicted with every comet, every planetary alignment, nova, and anything unusual in the sky since the first word was written. And since then, there have been many total eclipses someplace on earth (in fact, every place on earth will experience a total eclipse about every 320 years), albeit not as long.
The Moon’s orbit doesn’t care about earthly “problems” as it orbits; with, or without us, it will continue with its orbit around earth for millions of years, regardless of whether we exist or not.

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