Total Solar Eclipse of 2013 November 3
in Kenya, Gabon, Uganda or Congo
The point of greatest eclipse (totality phase during 1 min 40 sec) lies in the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. The weather prospects aren’t that good at this time of the year over the area crossed by the eclipse path, nevertheless there are quite a few interesting land-based locations, particularly at the end of the path where the Baily’s beads display will be amazing (view the simulations) and where totality will last less than twenty seconds. To observe this short total solar eclipse, I was onboard the very challenging eclipse flight from Bermuda as the expert navigator.
This hybrid solar eclipse starts as an annular and soon after becomes total when using the usual eclipse classification based on a smooth lunar limb profile. However when taking the lunar limb profile into account this does a lot of damage to the eclipse classification, so much so that the eclipse could never be seen to be annular, not even briefly. So most of the central line will only show a total eclipse, but even then a truly total eclipse will not be seen until about 11:06:45 UTC. Before then neither a total nor annular eclipse is possible as no umbral outline exists on the surface of the Earth.