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Last Post 11 Mar 2009 06:44 AM by  Pat Reiff
solar eclipse
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10 Mar 2009 07:45 AM
    Kellie (FOX) How come there are not many solar eclipses over the u.s.? Also, whats the biggest temperature differences seen during a total eclipse on the ground? thank you
    Tags: eclipse, temperature, shadow bands, path of totality


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    10 Mar 2009 01:45 PM
    Hi Kellie-- actually, the U.S. is not particularly under-represented eclipse-wise, it just seems that way lately. The problem is that the eclipse path is so small relative to the Earth's size, that the probable frequency for a total solar eclipse to occur at any one spot on Earth is, on average, once every 375 years. There are some geographical effects-- the main one being that total eclipses are more likely in the northern hemisphere than the southern hemisphere (because summer in the northern hemisphere happens when the earth is a bit further from the sun, and so the solar disk is a bit smaller, making it easier for an eclipse to be total rather than partial). But the U.S. is not any less likely to see an eclipse than say, Europe or Asia. As for temperature drop-- I found one reference in which measurements found generally a few degrees celsius drop, with the biggest being 6 degrees celslus. But I am not sure if this is the biggest ever! cheers, Sarah


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    11 Mar 2009 06:44 AM
    We've been unlucky for totals across the US recently... but there will be one in 2017! The biggest temperature drop I experienced for a non-total (but very close) is 10 degrees in May 1994. (90 to 80F). In Libya we measured a 15 degree (F) temperature drop... but that was in the desert near noon. That eclipse was also amazing because we could see the wall of the shadow race across the desert to us... awe inspiring! And we even got a shadow bands movie! Here is where you can see the shadow bands movie: http://space.rice.edu/eclipse/solar_eclipse_2006/carmona/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://space.rice.edu/eclipse/solar...6/carmona/ There are a lot of other images and movies on that site http://space.rice.edu/eclipse/ I was in China last year and am going again this year! This will be my ninth totality!
    Patricia Reiff Director, Rice Space Institute Professor, Physics & Astronomy Dept
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