India to view longest solar eclipse on July 22

New Delhi (IANS): India will view 21st century's longest solar eclipse on July 22 which will provide a life time opportunity to scientists and sky gazers to study this grand spectacle of nature.

The total eclipse is expected to last 6 minutes and 44 seconds, making it the longest eclipse till 2132.

"The eclipse begins at 5.28 a.m. (IST) when the shadow of the moon touches the earth at local sunrise point in the Arabian Sea, close to the western coast of India. The eclipse ends at 10.42 a.m. (IST) when the moon's shadow finally leaves the earth at local sunset point in the South Pacific Ocean," said an official at the Ministry of Science and Technology here on Tuesday.

N. Rathnasree, Director, Nehru Planetarium said: "This eclipse is of special interest for the scientists and general public of India as its path of totality passes through thickly populated regions of west, central, east and north-east India."

People in parts of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and northeastern States will be able to watch the total eclipse while other parts of the country will witness a partial eclipse.

The next solar eclipse will occur on Jan 15, 2010.