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Mean Cloud Cover in June for Southern Africa. Darker regions have less cloud cover in general in the month of June. These regions have the highest possibility of having clear viewing of the solar eclipse. Please click on image for full legend.
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Courtesy of NASA

A Big Day for the Sun
News story originally written on June 20, 2001

On Thursday, June 21, 2001, a total eclipse of the Sun will occur. The eclipse will only be visible from parts of the southern hemisphere. The shadow of the Moon will first be cast in the South Atlantic ocean. The shadow will then cross southern Africa and Madagascar. The triple line on the image to the left shows the path of where a total eclipse will be seen. Though this region is narrow, a partial eclipse will be seen throughout most of Africa.

This is the first total eclipse of the new millennium. NASA will broadcast coverage of the eclipse to the rest of the world on NASA television and over the internet.

So, it may seem as if the Sun will be taking a break in the southern hemisphere during the eclipse on June 21, 2001. But, June 21st also marks the summer solstice for the northern hemisphere. The summer solstice marks the point at which the north pole of the Earth is tilted at its maximum towards the Sun. For any location in the northern hemisphere, the day of the summer solstice is the longest day of the year with the Sun reaching its highest point in the sky for the year for that given location. So, you can see this really is a big day for the Sun!

Last modified June 20, 2001 by Jennifer Bergman.

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