Earth  Sun  Planets and Moons  ID: 4427

March 2016 Total Solar Eclipse Path

On Wednesday, March 9, 2016 (Tuesday evening in the Americas), the Moon will pass in front of the Sun, casting its shadow across Southeast Asia and the western Pacific. The shadow crosses the International Date Line, entering March 8, and passes Hawaii before it slides off the edge of the Earth.

The Moon's shadow can be divided into areas called the umbra and the penumbra. Within the penumbra, the Sun is only partially blocked, and observers experience a partial eclipse. The much smaller umbra lies at the very center of the shadow cone, and anyone there sees the Moon entirely cover the Sun in a total solar eclipse.

In the animation, the umbra is the small black oval. The red streak behind this oval is the path of totality. Anyone within this path will see a total eclipse when the umbra passes over them. The much larger shaded bullseye pattern represents the penumbra. Steps in the shading denote different percentages of Sun coverage (eclipse magnitude), at levels of 90%, 75%, 50% and 25%. The yellow and orange contours map the path of the penumbra. The outermost yellow contour is the edge of the penumbra path. Outside this limit, no part of the Sun is covered by the Moon.

The numbers in the lower left corner give the latitude and longitude of the center of the umbra as it moves eastward, along with the altitude of the Sun above the horizon at that point. Also shown is the duration of totality: for anyone standing at the center point, this is how long the total solar eclipse will last. Note that the duration varies from just 2 minutes over eastern Indonesia to over 4 minutes on the Woleai Atoll in Micronesia.

Go here for details about the methods and parameters used to make this visualization.

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Visualization Credits

Ernie Wright (USRA): Lead Visualizer
Tom Bridgman (GST): Visualizer
Alex Kekesi (GST): Visualizer
Ernie Wright (USRA): Programmer
Genna Duberstein (USRA): Producer
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

The Blue Marble data is courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC).

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Data Used:
Terra and Aqua/MODIS/Blue Marble: Next Generation
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

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