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Where to See Sun Eclipse in Russia
March 9, 2006 17:30

     Total eclipse starts 8 hours 36 minutes UT universal time in Brazil around eastern end of South America. The middle of the eclipse will be spotted at 10 hours 11 minutes UT (tmax= 4 min 11 sec) in Africa on the border between Libya and Chad. It ends at 11 hours 46 minutes UT in Mongolia close to the Russian border. Moon shadow starts moving along Russia and CIS’s territory in Georgia’s city of Gudaut, where total eclipse is expected to start 15 hours 13 minutes MST (Moscow summer time, in 2006 launches on March, 26). Total eclipse in Gudaut will last for 1 minute 53 seconds with phase of 1.004. Then Moon shadow will cover the famous Black sea resort Sukhumi and towns near it, there total eclipse duration will reach almost 3 minutes. Zugdidi and Poti town will too be in the zone of total eclipse, which will last for 2 minutes 49 seconds and 1 minute 49 seconds, respectively. Then the Moon leaves Georgia and enters Russia, immediately covering Dombay mountain system and nearest towns (Karachaevo-Cherkessia), and city of Karachaevsk, where total eclipse will last for 1 minute 23 seconds. After Dombay Moon shadow starts moving northwest, to Astrakhan, the largest European Russian city, covered by the eclipse.

     Following cities between Georgia and Astrakhan region will be suitable for observing full phase of natural phenomenon: Essentuki, with full phase duration of 2 minutes 18 seconds; Baksan and Tyrnyaus (Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria) with eclipse maximum of 3 minutes 17 seconds; Nalchik (3 minutes 06 seconds), Mineralnye Vody (2 minutes 05 seconds), Pyatigorsk (2 minutes 35 seconds), Kislovodsk (2 minutes 32 seconds) and Budennovsk (1 minute 15 seconds). Towns of Kalmykia and Astrakhan region will also be covered with total eclipse. Solar altitude observed in these towns reaches 40, which is perfect for observations. The far Moon shadow goes from the Black sea coast, the narrower total eclipse becomes, and the shorter duration of it will be on the central line of the eclipse. Solar altitude will also decrease, while moving to the east of Russia. Moon shadow reaches Astrakhan at 15 hours 24 minutes MST. It will take the shadow 7 minutes 40 seconds to travel from Karachaevsk to Astrakhan, its average speed is estimated to be 1.2 kmph. South of Astrakhan will see about a minute of total eclipse, because Moon shadow covers it only with its northern part. But in the town of Kamyzyak, located 25 km to the south of Astrakhan, total eclipse will lat for 2 minutes 18 seconds. You can move to Kirovskoy town – 28 km more to south – and enjoy the eclipse for over 3 minutes. For almost same 3 minutes the eclipse can be observed in Mumra and Tishkovo, located in the Volga delta. Another three minutes of miracle are waiting for you in Kaspiyski (Kalmykia), 120 km southwest from Astrakhan.

     Numerous amateur and professional astronomers from European part of Russia will, of course, be observing total eclipse in Astrakhan and its outskirts! They call it Astrofest-2006 part two! Meanwhile, the shadow leaves Astrakhan region and enters Kazakhstan, moving along its Caspian Sea lowlands, covering railway stations Akkol and Akkystau. In a minute the shadow will cover large city of Gur’ev, situated on the Ural River, where total eclipse’s duration reaches 2 minutes 52 seconds, which is maximum for Kazakh settlements. Then the shadow travels along sparsely populated areas of Kazakhstan and meets next town after long 1000 kilometers. The town’s name is Arkalyk, and the shadow will cover it for 2 minutes 33 seconds. In two minutes the shadow reaches Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. Total eclipse in this city starts 15 hours 40 minutes MST. After the capital Moon shadow covers the town of Ekibastouz for I minute 49 seconds, after which it travels to the south from Pavlodar and leaves Kazakhstan. The shadow enters Russia again by covering Mikhailovskiy town (the Altai Territory), located on the border with Kazakhstan, and Rubtsovsk, where darkness will last for 2 minutes 06 seconds. Leaving the Altai Territory, Moon shadow covers its centre, Gorno-Altaisk, which will again meet the eclipse in August of 2008. Two full eclipses for two years!! Rare town has such luck!

     The last Russian subject on the way of the Moon shadow is Republic of Tuva. The shadow covers its capital, Kyzyl for 1 minute 56 seconds. Here the total eclipse will take place during sunset, thus Kyzyl dwellers won’t be able to observe final local eclipse phases. After its long journey along the Earth’s surface, the shadow will enter Mongolia and leave our planet somewhere near Hubsugul Lake, near Russian border.

     The shadow will cover about 4500 km of territories of Russia, Georgia and Kazakhstan. You can estimate eclipse visibility conditions in desired region by means of eclipse maps. The maximum of solar eclipse – 1.021 – in Russia can be observed in towns of Baksan and Tyrnyaus (Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria), which enter eclipse central line. Local eclipse phases can be observed throughout Russia. Local phases won’t be lower than 0.4 even on the Far North of Russia. They will even exceed 0.4 to the south of Kola Peninsula-Taimyr Peninsula border. Eclipse local phase will increase to the south from this line. Eclipse is expected to reach 0.8 on the Samara-Ekaterinburg-Tomsk line. Phases will fall to the north and grow to the south of this line. In other words, Volga region will host eclipse phases from 0.8 to 1.0. Clearly visible eclipse phases will be detected in most densely populated Russian territories.

Some Tips To Keep Your Eyes Safe During The Eclipse.

     The Sun is a powerful source of energy, which can damage eyes even if one looks at it for a very short period of time. That is why one, observing an eclipse, which sometimes lasts for hours, shouldn’t avoid special precautions. A rule is that NO ONE should look at the Sun without protection before it will be fully covered by the Moon disc, i.e. before its total phase. As for local phase observations, precautions should be taken, too – “eclipse specs”, for instance, solar light filters (all necessary equipment can be bought nowadays). Or you can use old well-tried methods: smoked glass, light-struck and processed film, old floppy disc data carrier.

      Those, who plan to observe the Sun via telescopes, must install special light filters on their equipment. Any telescope, even the smallest one, accumulates ten- or even hundred-fold light more, than human eye. That is why even part of a second of looking on the Sun through a telescope will be enough to lose sight forever. There are various types of filters. Best ones are apertural – installed over the lens system. You shouldn’t use ocular filters – special black glass, which once went together with some models of telescopes. When exposed to prolonged heating, they often break and are extremely dangerous. Most popular filters now are “solar film” filters, made of polymer films with fine optic properties, covered with thin metal layer. It protects eyes of an observer, as well as his telescope, without distorting the image.

     You should also take care of surrounding people’s safety. Sometimes, after protecting “main tube” with a filter, astronomers forget about telescope’s finder and other devices. Even small vision tubes, usually installed along the main tube, can interest children and adults, who are not familiar with astronomy. You should always cover these devices with lids. Never leave your telescope unattended.

Tags: Russian science Astrakhan region    

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