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2008-05-20 23:35:45
Occurred August 11, 1999. Solar eclipses are relatively brief events that can only be viewed in totality along a relatively narrow track. Under the most favorable circumstances, a total solar eclipse can last for 7 minutes, 40 seconds, and can be viewed along a track that is up to 250 km wide. However, the region where partial totality can be observed is much larger. The Moon's umbra will advance eastward at a rate of 1,700 km/h, until it no longer intersects the Earth. During a solar eclipse, the Moon can sometimes perfectly cover the Sun because its apparent size is nearly the same as the Sun when viewed from the Earth. A solar eclipse is actually a misnomer; the phenomenon is more correctly described as an occultation of the Sun by the Moon or an eclipse of the Earth by the Moon.